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Ask Nick Your Estate Questions

Legal information in layman's terms, based on real life case scenarios


Question: How do I get my sister to leave a house owned by our mother’s estate?

Let’s say your mother died in 2010. Your father died before her. They had three children. The mother’s will divided her estate equally between their kids. The older sister, Gail, is executrix and has been living in the house since her mother’s death and won’t leave. Gail’s siblings want to sell the house so they can realize their inheritance.

The above scenario is common. Many times one heir will not leave the house owned by the last surviving parent. The other heirs want to receive their cash inheritance by selling the home. What can the other children do? 

If the child living in the house refuses to sell the house after amicable attempts are made to resolve the matter, the other children can file an action in court to compel the resident heir to leave the property and sell the house.  This is commonly called a partition action, which can be instituted by way of an order to show cause in the Superior Court of New Jersey.  This is a technical and complex process, but will ultimately result in the home being sold with its net proceeds being divided equally among the children. Gail’s refusal to leave the home is depriving her siblings of their inheritance and if she cannot afford to buy out their interest, the property must be sold to a third party. 

More information about my practice can be found at: www.giudittalaw.com.

Nicholas A. Giuditta, III

Giuditta Law

822 South Avenue

Westfield, NJ 07090


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