Real Estate

Can I Force a Sibling to Sell an Inherited House?

Siblings dividing inherited property

Your parents have passed, and you don’t want to spend your time managing their estate or a second home. The problem is, you didn’t inherit the home solely and share it with your siblings. Can heirs force the sale of property so they can get their inheritance and move on? The simple answer is yes.

To do so, you’ll need to work through the process. Selling a share of inherited property requires that you go through the probate process and, in some cases, negotiate the sale with your brothers and sisters. Here’s a look at what you can expect through the process.

Navigate Probate First

Probate is a legal process in which the court requests that all creditors that have a claim against the estate of a deceased party to come forward. It settles all outstanding debts for the property owner through the value of the remaining estate. This happens before any inheritance is handed out. The length of time of probate as well as the actual steps can differ based on the type of estate being left as well as the location.

At the end of the probate process, the court awards any inheritance to those it is left behind to. If there is a will, that is used to make these decisions. Otherwise, the court will determine who the heir is.

Consider Buy Outs

Let’s say your sibling wants to keep the home. Perhaps they cannot cope with the loss of memories or they want to live there. That’s one option for this property. Buying out a sibling from an inherited house requires the party that wishes to remain there to purchase the other siblings’ portion. For example, that individual may secure a mortgage on the home and pay you and any other sibling the portion of the property you now own.

A second option is to buy out your siblings and then sell. If you don’t want the home remaining in the control of a sibling, you can offer to purchase it outright from your siblings. You can then turn around the property and get it back on the market for a fast sale. There are risks here, especially if there are a lot of belongings to manage.

In all cases, you need to talk to your siblings and work with them on the buyout. If there is a sibling living in a deceased parent’s house, that’s going to complicate matters especially if they don’t have anywhere to go.

Consider Taking Partition Action

When it isn’t working, you may need to move towards more elaborate efforts to get the home sold. In this legal situation, you ask the court to intervene. In short, you are asking the court to force the sale of the home so that you can obtain your fair share of it. It’s important to know that this is an expensive and time-consuming option. When possible, it is best to avoid this scenario, and instead, work things out. Doing so can help to preserve the value of the home.

If you cannot do that, a partition lawsuit is necessary. The court will make this decision if they find it is the best possible option. For example, the court may determine that the property needs to be divided, and one of the owners needs to buy out the others. If no resolution can occur, the court may require that the home is sold so that each party can receive their share of the inheritance equally.

With any type of partition lawsuit, there is going to be a time factor to consider. Additionally, once you take this legal step, there is no way to go back. You may have a sibling agree with you in a few months, for example, to sell. If the lawsuit is filed, there’s no way to simply stop it. And, as the seller, you will pay the fees associated with the process.

In some situations, those involved cannot come to a buyout agreement during the partition action. When this happens, the court may force the sale through an auction, which can undermine the value of the property at the time of the sale. It’s possible to force the sale of the property, but it’s also important to know what that means.


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