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Executors and beneficiaries disagreeing over house sale

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lainey4383 | 17:49 Tue 03rd Jul 2012 | Law
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My father passed away in june last year. Myself and one of my sisters are executors of the will (I have 2 sisters and one disabled brother).The will states that myself and one of my sisters are executers and that the estate will be split 4 ways. My late fathers house has been on the market for almost a year and we have reduced the asking price 3 times since it has been on the market (keeping our other sister informed along the way). We have just received an offer ( the 1st in over a year) for a few thousand pounds less than the current asking price and as executors we feel that this is the best price we will get for the house in the current market - the estate agent also agrees. The problem is that my other sister ( a benificiary not an executor) does not want to sell the house at this price. Can myself and my sister as executors overide our other sister and accept this offer without her approval? or can she stop the sale going ahead?

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If your sister is not an executor she has no say in the matter.
I believe that as executors you can sell the property if you wish.

There is, I believe, a general requirement that executors must act in the best interests of beneficiaries.
If you have records of the length of time the property has been on sale, the price reductions etc you should be OK.
Do you know if similar houses have sold recently in the area? If there are try to find out what price they made. If it is similar to your offer that should also help protect you against any claim.
Yes, your job is to get the best price you can and if this is the best offer you have had, you may both accept it as executors.
To sell the idea to your sister point out that the house price could drop further the longer it is on the Market and you would all be better off getting some interest/investment returns for the proceeds now.
I think that she might be able to do something if she was prepared to take you to court over it. This would be mega expensive and time consuming and she would be unlikely to get anywhere if the other beneficiaries are in agreement with you.
She could try (and it will cost her), but unlikely to succeed as the price would appear to be "reasonable".

Would the buyer compromise somewhere between their offer and your price, this would strengthen your already fairly sound case in that you would have made maximum effort to get the best price (even if it's only a few hundred over the prospective buyer's offer).
Why not get your sister to have it valued herself. With a falling market we all suffer from lower house prices but many wouldn't admit it. Anyway as you are one of the beneficiaries what have you to gain from a lower price. Waiting for the market to recover could take many years especially during this never ending recession.
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Thank you all for your replys. This is the 2nd offer that this buyer has made ( the 1st was a few weeks after it was put on the market and for a considerably lower amount that their most recent offer) so I think they'd be unlikely to raise it any further but it's something we may consider asking.
Similar houses have sold in the same area and some are also up for sale in a similar condition at around about the same price that we have been offered so we think it is a fair valuation.
Thanks again for your replys!
looks like you are OK then. I would take note of all the prices of the other houses. Just in case.
In view of your further information, I'd say go ahead ASAP.
The principle is that an executor must do the best he can by the estate - that does not mean getting the best price at all costs. Although there is not statutory duty to consult the beneficiaries it is advisable. In theory your sister could take an action for devastavit (ie wasting an asset) if you sold below the market value. However, based on what you have said, this seems unlikely to be successful. Assuming the sale price is not massively below probate and assuming you get the estate agents' recommendation in writing I think that you should go ahead with the sale.

If you are in any doubt, you should seek the advice of a solicitor with a view to getting directions from the Court.
you must do the best you can to follow the wishes in the will!

she must realise: a (quarter of) a bird in the hand is better than 2 in the bush ... ?
i think the problem is that despite 3 years, some people are STILL refusing to acknowledge that the housing market has gone down significantly and isn't likely to bounce back up again soon. There was a time a few years ago that anyone who was selling a house might expect an asking price offer on the day it went on sale or soon after. There was a time when people made huge amount of monies on the housing market (and tv programmes shoved it down our throats) so if she hasn't sold a house lately, she probably hasn't realised
The latest view is that house prices are likedly to fall further , so just get the house sold or you are going to be stuck with it.I can not see the remotest chance the other daughter could succeed in any action and in any case the court cost would be far more than the possible price diffrence. The greed of people over a will is unbelivable, just look at some recent posts on here, it's a wonder you have not had long lost distant relatives demanding a 'share'

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