Agent

Suing over ‘abandoned’ real estate

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DEAR BENNY: My sister inherited 75 percent of a home from our paternal uncle years ago and his wife's niece inherited 25 percent. The niece was also willed the furniture in the home, but she never retrieved her belongings even when a legal document was written for her to remove all furniture by a specific date. The house hasn't been occupied since my uncle expired, and the niece hasn't been heard from in many years. The house is located in my sister's hometown, while the niece lives in another state and has never been involved in the home's upkeep. My sister spends her hard-earned money on the house paying real estate taxes, lawn maintenance, etc., and does not want to sell the home or buy out the niece. Currently, the house is in need of a lot of repairs. Can my sister sue the niece for abandonment of property? Does this have to go to court? If so, do you think Legal Aid can assist, as my sister has a limited amount of funds? If my sister stops paying the real estate tax...