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Ask Dave

Love Him Enough To Tell The Truth

Joey and his brother were given some lake property when their parents split up. Joey wants to sell, but his brother doesn’t. Dave thinks Joey might have to force the sale.

QUESTION: Joey in Austin and his brother were given some lake property when their parents split up. The property value has risen dramatically, and his brother is living in an RV on the property. Joey wants to sell, but his brother doesn’t. A lawyer has advised splitting the property. Dave thinks Joey might have to force the sale.

ANSWER: So he’s living on your $150,000 investment rent-free. Why does he think that’s OK? That’s a fair question to ask him.

Aside from this deal, your brother is not doing well. He’s a 26-year-old immature adult that’s mooching off of your mother. He doesn’t have any ambition. His life is not a picture of mental health. He’s just a bum. Aside from all of that, you should sit down and talk to your brother, shouldn’t you? You ought to love your brother enough to bring this up to him. He needs to get on with his life. He needs to do something. Living in a trailer making $15,000 a year and mooching off of your parents is not the way to live.

It’s not about the property; it’s about him. What I’m saying is that when you allow him to live in this situation, it isn’t good for him. This is not a selfish thing if you think about this right. Yes, there’s $150,000 of your money here, but if I thought it was really, really good for your brother, I’d tell you to just give him the money. Just deed the property and let him stay there. But you know what he’ll do with that? He’ll waste it away. It’s not good for him to sit in this sewage called his life. The problem is now you’re attached at the hip with this.

What would I do? I would sit down and say, “Listen. I’m one of the few people in this family that actually loves you enough to hurt your feelings for your own good. You get mad at me every time I bring up this up, but this is not about this property. This is about you. It’s time for you to grow up. It’s time for you to be somebody. If you don’t want to do that, that’s fine. If you want to get mad at me and not speak to me because I love you enough to tell you the truth, that’s fine.”

If that conversation goes badly, then I would tell him you’re either going to sell the property or he’s going to buy you out. He has five days to make arrangements to buy you out. If he doesn’t, you’ll need to see an attorney about a dissolution of partnership, and the court will force the sale of the property to dissolve the partnership. If he doesn’t speak to you again, that’s no different than him being mad because you told him to straighten his life up.

This all comes down to you loving your brother and acting like he’s not a jerk. The $150,000 you get out of this is a sidebar, as far as I’m concerned. It’s not your primary motivation. But I’m also not going to allow him—for his own good—to just sit there and pay no rent and do nothing with his life when I have a say in the deal.