Do I have to agree on a selling price for the family home if my brother has power of attorney?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 25, 2016
Sea dogs asked...

My parents died and gave power of attorney to my brother. We are currently selling family home and my brother has taken an offer $75 000 dollars less than the asking price. Do we all need to agree on selling price or does he get to do whatever he wants?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

The legal truth may or may not make your life easier: Your brother's responsibility as agent in your parents' power of attorney ended when they died.

So how the family home passes, and its acceptable selling price, now depends on the wording of the last parent's will, if he or she had one. For example, if the home was left by will to three siblings in equal shares, then all three would need to decide on the selling price.

Getting this kind of agreement, however, is often what keeps estates from being settled, keeps people from moving on with their lives after a death, and promotes bloodier family fighting"”sometimes for years.

One option may be for the surviving beneficiaries of the home to have it appraised by an independent home appraiser"”or several or them"”then agree to accept the appraisal given as a bottom line, or average several appraisals and go with that.

The key to efficiency and to the least family strife seems to be to have appraisals that come from unbiased sources. If you need help finding such people, contact your local or state realtors association as a starting point.