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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37100
Experience:  16 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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In Pennsylvania: My brother and I are 50/50 owners of 75.18

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in Pennsylvania: My brother and I are 50/50 owners of 75.18 acres in Bradford County, PA (with a home, barn, etc. way atop a mountain) that was deeded to us by our folks in 2000 (but the folks didn't tell us until they came here with me in Bucks County in failing health in late 2002). Once it was a given that they would never return to their home, I felt it was only fair they I take over the bills while they used their money for their own needs. We lost dad in 2005, Mom in 2008. I have paid every bill since 2003...... brother made it clear I was "crazy to keep their place (they had it since 1964 - retired to it in 1984... my kids and I love it.... we have memories there), and he made it very clear "Don't expect a single penny from me, I'm not interested, I'm a SHORE MAN now!" He kept his word. Not one red cent, and not 50 seconds of time to help maintain it. I have been the financial person.. my son has been the one making these 8-hour ROUND TRIP visits to check on the place, make any repairs, mow, etc. throughout the years. He hunted that land with my dad since he was 12, and still hunts it. There is a nice cozy home, a pole barn, and we have done a lot of work to increase the value. Question.... is there a time frame where if one owner doesn't participate AT ALL, he gives up all (or part of) his rights to the property? I am disabled, had to leave work at age 57 for medical reasons, I first depleted my credit union money, and then started tapping into my share of our drilling lease money I got, and have nearly depleted it. I live in Bucks County, collect just over $ 2,200.00 /month with my own $ 1,200.00 rent. You can see why I've had to tap into any outside money I've had. Brother has sat on his $ 216,000.00 MINUS TAXES all this time.... handing over NOTHING. "Claims" he just got an appraisal in April at $ 200,000.00. He was totally willing to sell in 2010 when my appraisal was $ 145,000.... but at the very last minute he backed out trusting NO ONE (even lawyers) who told him he could sell his half AND RETAIN MINERAL RIGHTS. He was worried sick he would get "screwed out" any future royalties. His decision to 'spare me' $ 20,000 off the half of his appraisal ($100,000) is a joke. Plus, all we've done these past 5 years to improve the place (including demolition of an aunts 1950's trailer and the "junkyard" she had around it... as well as so many other things..... I AM SICK OVER THIS. We had plans to demolish the folks place and immediately start construction on a large cabin... when he backed out, he left us no choice but to start making repairs on things the home needed so badly. My dad's final years he was more into "patch work" than the 'real remedy". By not selling the first thing we had to do was put on an $8,000 roof because there were leaks everywhere. We've done so many improvements (had to drill a new well, because the well was in the basement of an old - now condemned - farmhouse), the place is nice now.... and WE have increased the value. Your thoughts please? Decades ago when our parents pulled us aside to tell us (basically ME, but in front of my brother) of certain times they bailed him out of financial situations, that they didn't want to pay to revise their wills.... they wanted us to know that brother dear would owe me some of his 50% to even it out. At that time, as the folks walked out of the room ahead of us, he turned to me and said, "DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH". He doesn't deny past comments he's made to me. I have emails where he states he felt "if he ignored it, it would go away".... which is how he deals with unpleasant things. When he didn't help me those 6 yrs with the folks, his ife told me, "Steve can't handle seeing your folks like this, so this is his way of not dealing with it... staying away like it doesn't exist". Now, he wants to settle this ASAP (I've been trying to get him to settle for YEARS and now suddenly HE wants to give the orders) "so we can get back to being brother/sister". We never been brother/sister; and now after this, I have NO BROTHER. I haven't seen him in years (though he's only 25 minutes away), never hear from him....He's never been to the place in Bradford County since BEFORE we brought the folks down in 2002 (except for one weekend the now-deceased aunt called to tell he he had just pulled up and unloaded his car, and then welcomed his son, his significant other, their kids AND her parents.... I was livid.......... there he was, using MY electric, MY cable, MY A/C..... There is so much more, I have barely touched the surface. I also had an updated appraisal done just this past Monday 5/11, while my son and daughter-in-law were up there.... to compare mine to his. He didn't even make the trip up to meet his own appraiser in April. He sent his appraiser there while my son was there! Too cheap to even drive up and get a motel room, because he surely wasn't staying in the place I've been paying for.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I just agreed to $58 for a ONE TIME answer........ now it appears you want to tap my card for MORE questions later. It's $ 58 or NOTHING. DON'T YOU DARE TAKE MORE FROM ME!!!!! I'm not signing up for long-term legal help. I'm just in a rush right now for an "idea" of where I stand.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I can barely afford the $ 58 !!!! That's enough.
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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Question.... is there a time frame where if one owner doesn't participate AT ALL, he gives up all (or part of) his rights to the property?
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Unfortunately the answer is no because as a co-owner of the property with him, you couldn't use the legal doctrine of "adverse possession" to claim it. The reason is that in order to claim adverse possession, you first have to have maintained exclusive use and possession for at least 21 year under PA law and the possession must be "hostile" meaning that you have no legal right to the property.
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Here, you are well under the statutory 21 years and you are already a half owner, so your claim wouldn't be hostile to the legal owners, one of which is you already.
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Not to add insult to injury, but if there was no agreement for him to repay you for anything you have done to the property, you couldn't unilaterally impose one.
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With that said, if you didn't want to continue maintaining the property for his benefit, either of you could force a sale of it by filing a "partition action" in the local court where a judge would order it sold at public auction to the highest bidder.
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You could then make the equitable claim that due to your expenditures you have increased the value of the property and the judge should at least award you your expenses back out of any proceeds before they were divided.
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I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...
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thanks
Barrister
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 years ago.
As to the deposit, I understand that JustAnswer tries to sell subscription plans to customers, but as long as you didn't click anything agreeing to subscribe, you wouldn't be charged anything more.
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You might want to check with JustAnswer's customer service just to be sure you didn't accidentally click on a subscription offer.
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thanks
Barrister

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