My mother passed away on February 5th of this year. My eldest brother signed his right away to administrate the probate. My mother had no spouse and there are only 3 heirs: me (the youngest) and 2 older brothers. I live 4 and a 1/2 hours away, and I am disabled, yet even though we are still in probate, my brother acting administrator has already kept to himself or gave to my other older brother all of my mother's possessions. My mother had sufficient money in her bank account to cover all debts and funeral costs.

My mother's home was appraised for $120,000, however she still owes 80,000 on the home. My brother tells me that there have been several interested parties but after inspection it has fell through a couple times or the parties did not come to an agreement. My brother has already given all of my mother's possessions to himself or my other brother, or sold them, not to cover any debts owed by her, just so they could get the stuff out of the house so they could sell it, so they tell me. When they were dividing all of this stuff up they did not even call and tell me they were doing so.

I am so sorry if I am not doing this correctly, as I mentioned I am disabled and I'm very confused. Can anyone tell me what the best option would be concerning the sale of her home? I guess my question is if they are unable to sell the home, does the estate just lose out on all the money that my mother paid on the home since it appraised for much more then she owes or what would be the best situation for me and my brothers?

  • 7
    The best thing to do is get a lawyer; this site is not for legal advice. Google for free legal aid in your city or state. Sep 12, 2020 at 22:56
  • 1
    Yes. The best thing to do is hire a lawyer. I guarantee that no one who answers this question here will actually know what they're talking about. Note, for instance, that exactly zero laws have been cited to support the only answer so far.
    – bdb484
    Sep 13, 2020 at 1:31
  • Even if you got correct and competent advice here, you should still get a lawyer. Having a lawyer tends to have a sobering effect on family who want to cheat you out of an inheritance.
    – gnasher729
    Nov 28, 2022 at 10:17

1 Answer 1


What happens when a person dies intestate is that the court appoints someone to be the executor. That person is supposed to settle the decedent's debts, and divide the remainder equally among the siblings. It is virtually guaranteed that the mortgage-holder will get their share – you can't just sell a house with a mortgage and run. In the meantime, the estate has to keep paying the mortgage and property taxes.

The executor has wide latitude to dispose of the estate, and clearing out personal possessions is a necessary part of liquidating the estate. Those possessions being part of the estate, they "count", therefore that mink coat worth $10,000 can't just be "taken" by the executor in order to tidy things up. But that broken weed-eater worth $1 can just be thrown away and not stored for some months, waiting for the final reckoning. The executor is entitled to compensation for his work and reimbursement for his expenses, so nickle and diming the small possessions is probably economically counterproductive. The executor has the legal power to determine how the legally required distribution is carried out, that is, the law doesn't require a majority vote of the heirs in order to dispose of each and every item of property.

If there is an actual legal dispute, if you believe that the executor is improperly carrying out the job, you can hire a lawyer to have him removed, or otherwise put pressure on him to get a change in how things are. This will probably cost you more than you might get from the estate. It is possible that the real estate market will not support the current sale price and therefore a lower asking price is necessary (i.e. the executor needs a reality check). A combination real estate agent + lawyer could help you figure out what to do with the house to make it sell.

  • Technically a court appointed person is an “administrator” not an “executor”
    – Dale M
    Sep 13, 2020 at 4:59

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