Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The problems with "heirs property"

Family_Tree Meghan E.B. Pridemore (Clerk, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the E. Dist. of N.C.) has written a new article entitled Tides, Torrens, and Family Trees, Prob. & Prop., May/June 2009, at 24.

Here is an excerpt from her article:

The article discusses some of the problems faced by owners of "Heirs Property." Heirs property is property that has passed into the hands of numerous heirs through generations of intestate succession. Normally, this creates ownership in the form of a tenancy-in-common. The problem with this type of ownership is that if one owner sells a very small share, then the buyer could force partition, which could be adverse to the interests of the other owners. The article gives some techniques to help protect against partition, as well as some suggestions of changes that could be made in the law to facilitate these goals.


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I have a question about a case, if anyone can help answer it would be appreciated.
Two brothers, one older and one younger, their father passed away several years ago. The older brother was made executor of the will. The younger brother is named on the deed of the home. The younger brother spent every dime the father left by intercepting mail and cashing the insurance checks in secret, over 80,000 grand. Three and half years ago, the older brother moved into the home that was left to the younger brother in the will because the younger brother wasn't occupying it and he had let skanks move in and destroy most of it, also they hocked everything of value with the younger brother's permission. So the older brother moved in with the permission of the younger to clean it up, fix it up for his family and live there.
This year the younger brother got married and now has moved his new wife and himself in with the older brother's family and the younger brother's new wife now wants the older brother and his family out of the house. Everything in the house, furniture, dishes, etc. belong to the older brother's family because everything that was left to the younger brother was destroyed by the people he let live in the house previously before the older stepped in and took over. Before the younger brother got married this year, he had moved back into the house with his older brother's family and asked the older brother to stay but now that he has a new wife who wants the older brother's family out although at the present time she is conventiently using everything the older brother brought into the home, furniture, dishes, washer, dryer, etc. because the younger brother no longer has any of those things due to what was stated above.
I should also mention the home was paid off before the father died and no debt was owed on it until the younger brother refinanced it and now mortgage payments are being made on it. The older brother had an verbal agreement with the younger to pay so much a month to the younger and it was to be used towards utilities or mortgage, whatever the younger felt he needed to use it for the house.
Anyway, my question is, does the older brother have any right to fight for a home he grew up in too but that was left to the younger brother in a will by their deceased father?

Posted by: Jess | Jun 4, 2009 10:59:00 AM