Inheriting a house can be both a blessing and a challenge. While it can provide financial security and a potential investment opportunity, it can also lead to conflicts among co-owners.
Imagine, for example, that you inherit the family home jointly with your sibling. You want to sell the home and split the proceeds so that your share of the money can be put to good use. Your sibling, however, wants to keep the house and turn it into a rental. They won't agree to the sale, and they can't afford to buy you out.
What can you do? Are you just stuck being part-owner of a house you don't want?
A Partition Action Can Get You Out From Underneath the Property
In essence, a partition action is a legal process that asks the court to resolve the issues between the co-owners of a piece of real estate. While it has the advantage of forcing an owner's hand when they're reluctant to act, the primary goal of a partition action is to provide a fair and equitable solution for all co-owners involved.
Partition Actions Have Multiple Solutions to Accommodate Different Needs
In a partition action, several outcomes are possible depending on the specific issues in play. Here are the potential outcomes that can occur:
Physical Partition: If the property can be divided into separate portions without significantly diminishing its value or causing practical difficulties, the court may order a physical partition. Each co-owner will be given their share, to do with as they choose. This often happens with family farms.
Sale by Agreement: In some cases, the co-owners may reach an agreement to sell the property voluntarily. If all co-owners agree to the terms of the sale, such as the price, the court may approve the sale and oversee the distribution of the proceeds among the co-owners.
Sale by Auction: If the co-owners cannot reach an agreement on the sale of the property, the court may order a public auction or sale on the open market. The proceeds from the sale will then be divided among the co-owners.
Forced Buyout: In some instances, the court may simply order one party to buy out the other. This typically happens when there was already an agreement in place but the buyer was simply delaying the process in an unreasonable manner.
If you're feeling trapped in a difficult situation with a piece of real estate because you and your co-owners don't see eye to eye on the situation, a real estate law service can provide guidance tailored to your specific needs and help you decide your next steps.