Can my brother force the sale of my mother’s house?

Q: My mother is in a nursing home. Before that I was her caregiver. I am still her power of attorney. I still live in my childhood home and have started a family of my own. My brother just got out of prison and wants the house. He only lived in the house for one year and never paid even one bill. I used my retirement from a previous job to pay off the house and I’ve paid every bill for almost 10 years. My mother has 4 children in total and everyone else has started a family and lives elsewhere. Does my brother have any rights? Can he force my family out of the house? Can he even try to sell without permission from me and the rest of my siblings? (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: What does your mother’s will say? I am assuming your father is not alive. If your mother is competent, she can sign a will which leaves the house to you. If your mother has a will which leaves everything to the children equally, you may not get to keep the house and be forced to buy your siblings out if you want to keep it. The same result could happen if she has no will, under PA intestate succession law. If the sale of the house would be the result, you have a good argument to recoup your investment in it from the proceeds of the sale. I would consult with a lawyer as soon as possible and before your mother’s condition digresses.

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