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Co-Trustees don’t agree

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Dear Phyllis,

My two sisters and I are co-trustees of our father’s estate. However, they both live out of state. Twenty years ago, after my divorce I moved back home. At first it was going to be temporary until I got on my feet. But as my parents aged, they enjoyed having me there. My mother had cancer and I was the one to care for her and take her to chemo. After she passed my dad’s health quickly declined and he passed within the year. Of course my sister’s want to sell the home and I don’t. What happens when Co-Trustees don’t agree?


Dear LK,

I am sorry for the loss of both your parents so quickly. I often find Co-Trustees don’t agree and that is why many probate and trust attorneys recommend having just one trustee. The first thing to do is to establish a value of the home and the estate.   Perhaps you can buy your sisters out.  If not maybe they will consider keeping the home and renting it to you.  I am not a real estate attorney and can’t offer legal advice. But, it does appear that their two voices outnumber yours.

If those options don’t work, the best you can hope for is to buy some time. As your family has owned the home for many years, you likely have a lot to sort through. Are your sisters going to help with this? If not it will likely take longer to accomplish.

Start interviewing real estate agents. You could bring your sisters in on your recommendation. Likely your sisters will hope to sell the home for the highest possible price.  Once you have hired a Realtor®, she should make suggestions on preparing your home for sale. You may decide to spruce up the landscaping before putting the home on the market, and you will likely be busy with all of these preparations to keep you in the home through the holidays. And then you might be able to stall until spring.

Best of luck to you!

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