Can I be made to split the proceeds of my parents' house sale?
Question Details: Our parents signed over their house to us 4 siblings 20 years ago. Both are in dementia homes now and the house is empty. I put it on market last year but when a buyer came along, my brother said he didn't want to sell, so it had to be taken off market as the 4 of us had to agree. He gave orders where I had to empty the house myself and put bills in my name and we now have extra $400 in expenses as we took it off the market. I am the only one who is unemployed and find it difficult to make ends meet let alone pay extra bills. He said that he would agree to a sale if we split the money 6 ways just in case we had to end up paying for the homes that mom and dad's are in. However, they have both been sectioned and we were told that we would never have to pay. One of my sisters agrees with him and one agrees with me, just to get rid of it. Can sister who is on my side and I just open another account separately to put some of our share of money in as we don't think we would be able to open account for mom and dad and we certainly don't want to give in to him to put it in all 4 names as we don't trust him?
You can't be forced to split the proceeds more ways than there are owners, or to put aside money for nonowners (your parents) if you don't want to. If you and your siblings are at an impass and cannot jointly agree as to what to do, you (or you and the sister agreeing with you) could bring a legal action in county court traditionally called an action "for partition" (your state may have a different name for it) in which you seek and get a court order requiring that the home be sold and the proceeds, after paying costs of sale, any mortgages, and any other loans or liens, be divided among the owners. This--a forced sale--is the law's remedy when the owners of a property cannot agree as to what to do with it. If you want to consider this option, consult with a real estate attorney.
Voluntary agreements are better than litigation. You and your siblings should try to come to some compromise you are all comfortable with and trust. But if you can't, you can tell your siblings you will force a sale if necessary.