Can Siblings Force The Sale Of Inherited Property? Everything You Need To know

Can Siblings Force The Sale Of Inherited Property?

The death of a loved one can lead to emotional conflicts among siblings, especially regarding the family home.

Disagreements often revolve around the decision to keep or sell the property after the parents’ passing.

Although probate or trust administration processes can resolve these issues, siblings may end up as co-owners despite ongoing conflicts.

In California, if one sibling wants to sell the inherited house, they can use a “partition action” to legally force the sale of the property.

Can siblings force the sale of inherited property
Can siblings force the sale of inherited property: Photo(We Buy House)

Is majority rule applicable in selling an inherited property?

In California, the concept of “majority rule” does not govern the sale of inherited property.

When multiple individuals co-own real estate, any owner, regardless of being a minority owner, can initiate a partition action if they wish to divest themselves of the property.

Due to the inherent challenge of dividing real estate, a co-owner seeking to exit can compel the sale of the property to receive their rightful share of the proceeds.

This implies that the forced sale of an inherited property can occur even if the majority of siblings wish to retain ownership.

However, many individuals in such situations opt to avoid the complexities of litigation by choosing to buy out the sibling desiring to sell, thereby keeping the property within the family.

Also Read: Inheritance Disputes Between Siblings: Navigating The Drama And Dollars Of Inheritance Disputes

Can Siblings Force The Sale Of Inherited Property?

In California, a co-owner can enforce the sale of inherited property through a legal proceeding known as a “partition action.

This allows a sibling not wanting to retain their share of the property to obtain a court order for its sale, with the proceeds divided among all siblings.

According to California Code of Civil Procedure 872.210, any co-owner can start a partition action.

This happens when owners disagree about selling, and the property cannot be physically divided.

Given that single-family homes are typically indivisible into equal shares, a forced sale becomes necessary.

Also Read: Harlan Crow Siblings: Inside the Dynasty of Dallas Real Estate

How can I prevent the sale of inherited property?

Once a partition action has been initiated, halting the sale becomes challenging.

California upholds an absolute right to partition jointly-owned real estate, and the court will not compel someone to retain ownership against their wishes.

Nevertheless, the most favorable outcome when contesting a partition lawsuit often involves reaching a settlement agreement.

This allows siblings wishing to retain the property to buy out the sibling intending to sell.

Despite the filing of a partition action, the forced sale of the inherited property is not inevitable as long as the siblings can reach a mutually agreeable settlement.

Settlement Negotiations

In settling disputes over inherited property, a probate litigation attorney facilitates negotiations, often involving siblings with conflicting interests.

The common resolution is for siblings wishing to retain ownership to buy out those wanting to sell.

Valuation agreement or formal appraisal may be necessary.

And if disputes persist, settlement discussions, mandatory conferences, or mediation can still occur during pending litigation.

If no resolution is reached, the partition action proceeds, potentially leading to the property’s public sale.

Consulting a probate litigation attorney early ensures protection of interests and adherence to the parents’ intentions in property distribution.

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