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Evicting a family member

ask phyllis a real estate question

Ask Phyllis: a blog series of frequently asked real estate questions.

Dear Phyllis,

I am an “Ask Phyllis” fan and hope you can help me. My parents had a vacation home in Palm Springs. For years, our extended family enjoyed weekends there. About ten years ago, my brother got fired and needed a place to live. My parents had him move into the Palm Springs home rent-free all this time. My parents have both passed and as the trustee, I need to do what’s best for the estate. There are four of us, me and three brothers; we all equally share the inheritance. In addition to the Palm Springs home, there is some savings and my parent’s home. However, this won’t be enough for the Palm Springs brother to buy us out. I have tried discussing the situation with him, but now he won’t take my calls. He never got another job and can’t afford to pay rent. I don’t want to have to evict him. I don’t know what to do next.


Dear Celia,

Dealing with family and financial matters can be complicated and stressful, especially after losing loved ones. In a “normal” situation being a trustee is a lot of work. I am sorry to hear about the difficult situation you’re facing.

Ultimately, the decision will depend on your family’s specific circumstances and priorities. It may be helpful to have an open and honest conversation with your other siblings to discuss everyone’s needs and concerns and work together to find a solution. After the three of you decide how you want to proceed, you should consider another meeting with the Palm Springs brother. At this meeting, have a neutral party, such as a mediator or the trust attorney, present. This may help facilitate the discussion and ensure that everyone’s needs and concerns are heard.

Unfortunately, unless you and your brothers want to allow him to live there rent-free indefinitely, you will likely need to contact an eviction attorney and start the process. Simply put, your brother pays the estate market rent, or the home is sold.

One thought on “Evicting a family member

  1. Carrie says:

    I can imagine that a lot of siblings end up estranged after something like this. Very sad

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