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LegalGems, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 10261
Experience:  Experienced Family Law Attorney
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One year ago my mother passed. I was living with her in her

Customer Question

One year ago my mother passed. I was living with her in her townhouse at the time. When it became clear that my sister wanted everything not just half..I hired a lawyer. She demanded half rent since she inherited half the house> I stayed in the house for seven months and moved out. We have been trying to negotiate a fair settlement with our lawyer since she wants to buy out my half..but she wants unfair things and will not compromise. Both lawyers have told her that she can have the rent money I owe her plus half the bills for the house in a lump sum when this is settled globally. When i moved out i told her i would try to pay her $600 monthly until this is settled but with moving expenses I could not afford to. She became enraged and (already being greedy & hateful) took out a warrant in debt against me. My lawyer has not said much except to try to settle before a trial date comes but we have been trying for one year. My question is: she has no legal agreement from me, no lease or legal document for the money i owe her. Only emails back and forth. Does she have a real chance of getting a judgement against me without legal documents, leases, etc????????????
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  LegalGems replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry to hear of these difficulties especially after dealing with your family loss.

When there is an executor an an estate, that person has a fidcuiary obligation to the estate to ensure that the property is being rented out at fair market value. If the current arrangement is not fair market value, and there is no lease, then the executor must follow legal protocol to remove the person from the home.

If the executor does not do this and the person remains in the home for below fair market value (FMV) then the executor is liable for the difference.

The executor may not arbitrarily assign a retroactive rental amount.

If the heirs choose to sell the home, then the proceeds are divided according to the terms of the will/trust.

So basically if a person lives in a residence without a written agreement, the courts will enforce the "oral agreement". if there is no oral agreement, then the courts will generally allow the person to live in the home until eviction occurs (because long term "tenants" even without a lease, have rights). If the person has already moved out, it will be difficult for the executor to establish rent if rent was never paid.

If there is in fact a rental agreement, as executor, the executor must attempt to recoup the rent. But if the person was allowed to live there rent free, there is not much legal recourse.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
a bit over my head. so i will explain again simply. I have moved out and we had an oral agreement or written agreement by emails..that i would pay her rent. I can only afford to do so once she buys the house or agrees to put on the market and sell it and take her rent money out of my half of the money after the sale. (there are other amounts, half of the association dues, etc) but it totals $6700 which i cannot give her except in a lump sum if she buys, or we sell. However she does not wish to be agreeable to do anything except threaten a judgment to force me to sell to her at an unfair price. SO ..having already left the house, and oweing her money....but WITHOUT any legal agreements on paper, or signed document such as a lease. Does she have any chance of getting a judgement based on her word or an email? (I was told by someone she would have to have a legal agreement or shes out of luck) i am worried about my credit rating. We are both co-excutors of the estate in the will But there is no formal executor..only our lawyers.
Expert:  LegalGems replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for that clarification.

You mention there is an executor- and that both parties are executors.

An executor is under a fiduciary obligation to the estate- this means they must act in utmost good faith towards the estate. One cannot sell the property at below fair market value; and one cannot gain based on their position as executor.

So if an executor is threatening a judgment to force an heir to sell, and is acting as executor, and such action is not within the estate's best interests, it is considered a breach of the fiduciary duty.

The executor needs to sell the property at fair market value- that is their obligation and responsibilty. If they fail to do so, they can be sued for the damages (whatever amount that is less than fair market value) and also be removed as executor.

Expert:  LegalGems replied 1 year ago.

I know this can be confusing so please let me know if you have any questions.

Expert:  LegalGems replied 1 year ago.

However, if there is an amount that is owing (based on a landlord/tenancy - whether oral or written) then the executor may sue for the outstanding amount.

But typically with estate law issues, the amount will be deducted from the heir's portion of the inheritance. I would urge you to contact an attorney to make this proposal.

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