Jocelyn - After reading all of your post, I respectfully disagree with kvc about your house. I have experience with legal and estate issues. You have a stressful mess on your hands, and it will get worse if you don't clearly set the boundaries right now. You need a very good estate planning lawyer - it will be worth it in the long run. Remember YOU are the one in charge, YOU have the power to say what happens. Don't give away YOUR POWER. Your brothers, really, should be nice to you if they want to live in this lovely house. (Your mother sounds like a wise woman, she wrote the trust her way for a GOOD REASON! Because YOU are the clear headed one.) Please don't forget your power, and don't apologize for it! Just my opinion, but I've been through some of this myself, and it does not pay in the long run to be "nice" to people who are irresponsible - and abusive to you right up front?! My heart goes out to you, I know what a mess estate issues can be with family - and yes, Dr. Phil believes in "family first," but sometimes your family doesn't feel that way about you - if they aren't being nice to you, don't let them walk all over you. "It's not personal, it's business." Arrange everything in writing through a GOOD attorney - and have the attorney enforce it. Make anyone who wants to live in the house sign a clear agreement about what is allowed and what isn't, who pays for maintenance and damages, and WHO OWNS THE HOUSE. That will cut your stress level way down. If you don't do this, the house and the various tenants WILL cause you countless headaches. I have legal experience, and I can think of a LOT of things you need to protect yourself from if your brothers' girlfriends are living in the house. So, please, just get an estate planning lawyer! You also need to cover your rear with insurance issues, liability, etc. - and, depending on your state, maybe palimony lawsuits.
Below is what I wrote as I read through your posts - a little disjointed and repetitive...
The cats. You are so right. I'm allergic to cats. I read that lots of animal dander can be removed from a house with a proper cleaning - the one type of animal dander that will never leave a house is CAT dander. If you are allergic to cats and the cats move in just for a few days, you will NEVER be able to be in that house. (What if YOU should need the place down the line?) I know a couple people who developed serious medical problems because they moved into houses that had previously had cats. Clean, sterilize, steam, scrub, it won't remove the cat residue. You have a very valid point, especially since you now have lung problems. I'm sure you can find this information somewhere - I'm sorry I don't have a link to send you. Your young brother is completely wrong and uninformed, and you are correct. DO NOT let the cats move in at all, or the house is ruined for you. (Do your brother and Cathy care MORE about the cats than about YOU?? If so, they don't need to be in the house!) A letter from an attorney might help, since you have full legal control - if the cats do move in, you should sue for damages and loss of use of your portion of the house. Or threaten it anyway. Your mother was wise. The girlfriend might bring in a little money now, but in the long run, it could cost you more. I'd be careful about letting her pay for work on YOUR house - that could be legally messy. Since YOU have control over the trust, and you can say who lives there, do NOT allow this. Save yourself a big headache and let Cathy put her money into an apartment for your herself and your brother! Just my opinion! Don't bother with people who treat you badly. If Scott's abusive and "disowned" you, what do you owe him?) I love what Oprah quotes from Maya Angelou: People will tell you who they are - believe them the FIRST time. (I speak from painful experience!)
You need an attorney - do you know about mechanic's liens? If someone works on your house, and isn't paid, they can put a lien on your property. What if Cathy hires someone to do work and doesn't pay them? What if the work is inferior and messes up your nice house? You could be stuck holding the bag, liable for payments or you could lose your house. Just one example of many things that could go wrong. I'd be really careful about letting anyone not named in the trust put money into your house, because then they could claim it was theirs. Make them sign an agreement - for example, pay you rent and YOU use the money to make improvements. But you need good legal advice!! I'm not an attorney.
As for selling the house, this is the worst possible market! If you don't have to, I wouldn't do that. It could serve as rental property and bring you a good income if you need it later. If your mother had wanted the asset to be distributed equally now, she would have written it in the trust. YOU are the administrator and the trust document says YOUR word goes, so there you have it. YOU decide. The heck with losing a brother who doesn't appreciate you anyway. I'm older than you are, and I've been really, really nice to a lot of people. 95% of them took and walked away. My advice is take care of yourself, and preserve the assets your mother left you, as guardian, for your family. You don't need to "settle" anything right now in monetary terms and this isn't the market for selling. Do NOT permit your brothers to ruin a beautiful house.
Since you control the house, I would suggest you have the girlfriends sign documents giving up all claim to the house if they want to live there (for free, I assume?). You might also get a document saying they indemnify you from any lawsuits that arise due to their actions or their friend's actions on your property. You (the clear headed one) need to make sure that the house stays in good condition and in your family. A lot of things could go wrong. A girlfriend could fall on the stairs, break her back and sue you for a couple million. You never know what is going to happen with relationships, or what kind of crap people will pull when they are angry. That house is an asset that was meant to be passed down in the family. Inflation will probably come back in, and it will be worth even more. And yes, your brother(s) probably resent you for having control, but your mother had her valid reasons! Protect yourself from their resentment and any possible future sabotage by them or their girlfriends - girlfriends come and go.
2. This seems minor compared to the above, but it isn't. What are we all paying these doctors for?? Doctors who don't tell you test results should be reported to the medical boards. That is just WRONG. I'd be angry too! Again, I'd call a lawyer. Welcome to the fibro world where we all find out just how incompetent and sloppy MANY doctors are. Over a decade ago, I began getting copies of my medical records and reading them myself. They were FULL of errors! And guess what - you can't have an error in your records changed because what do you know? The DOCTOR wrote it (or didn't). All you can do is file a "statement" of your own opinion about the mistake - that statement might be read later, or might not. I wish all of us (if we had more energy!) would write the government and demand that doctors be held more accountable for bad behavior like this. Lawsuits aren't the answer, there should be something intermediate - all we have now is the Complaint process. I have lots of stories of bad treatment - and I've heard some that would curl your toes. People need to complain louder and write more letters. Lawyers usually won't bother with the "smaller" cases - but it's worth a complaint to the medical board, and also your insurance company. They are paying the bills, and if they are paying a doctor who is not doing his job, they like to know about it. ….sigh. If only we had the energy and concentration to stay on top of all this!
Hoping things will work out for you - maybe you can all come to a good agreement. I would still get it all in writing, done by a good attorney, and signed by everyone. A big house like that is a valuable asset, it's worth protecting!