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Can Siblings Force the Sale of Inherited Property?

inherited property

Following the passing of your parents, you may find yourself in possession of a new property. The inherited property may be one that you share with your siblings. Things can get complicated in those scenarios because you and your siblings may have different ideas for the property.

One of you may consider moving into the home your parents left behind. Another may have their heart set on selling the home. It is difficult to discern how things will go, but it is clear that not everyone is on the same page.

So, what can you do in that scenario? Is forcing a sale an option if you want to go in that direction? Find out the answers to those questions by continuing with the rest of this article.

Forcing the Sale of Inherited Property through a Partition Action

If you legally inherited property from your parents, you may have assumed that you could do what you wanted with it. However, even if you share the property in question with your siblings, you may think they cannot force you to make any move you do not want.

However, that is not the case. The law does give siblings with diverging interests an opportunity to make things happen, even if not everyone is fully on board with the move.

Your sibling may even force the sale of an inherited property if they so desire. That is made possible by a legal maneuver known as a partition action.

For those who may be unaware, a partition action involves the court forcing the sale of a jointly owned property. Since the property owners cannot agree on what to do with it, the court steps in to resolve the matter.

It is worth noting that you cannot stop partition actions once they file them with the court. Once the ball gets rolling on this legal action, the court must make a decision. Therefore, you need to be certain that negotiating with your siblings is no longer an option before you file a partition action.

The Different Types of Partition Actions

There are three types of partition actions that you may pursue. The different actions are actual partition, partition by sale, and partition by appraisal. Let’s learn more about them below.

Actual Partition

An actual partition involves the court dividing property and giving portions to the legal owners. For example, the court may divide a disputed plot of land into four equal parts, and each owner gets a quarter of the property.

Per, actual partitions are the easiest and most common partition actions. However, an actual partition may be less than desirable if the inherited property is a house. That means the court will likely use the other available options.

Partition by Sale

If an actual partition is an imperfect solution, the court may instead opt to resolve the dispute by ordering a partition by sale. They may refer to these actions as licitation partitions.

To proceed with a partition by sale, the court will first appoint a commissioner to manage the property. In the state of Rhode Island, they typically select a real estate attorney to serve as the commissioner.

The commissioner will be in charge of selling the property to the highest bidder. After the sale, they will distribute the proceeds to the property owners.

While partition by sale may seem ideal, if you want to sell your inherited property, you should know that this transaction can be expensive. You will pay the commissioner’s legal fees, so the money you get from the sale may not be as substantial as you hoped.

Also, people rarely resolve cases handled through a partition by sale quickly. Even after selling the property, the parties involved may argue about how much they received. Therefore, expect to spend a lot of time in court if you pursue a partition by sale.

Partition by Appraisal

The third option is partition by appraisal, which can be a good option for you and your siblings.

To complete a partition by appraisal, the parties involved must first find a trustworthy appraiser. You can use this database provided by the state of Rhode Island to identify licensed appraisers in your area.

Next, the appraiser will evaluate the property and assign a price. The party wishing to hold on to the property must purchase their sibling’s share based on the appraised price and ownership stake.

Crucially, a partition by appraisal can only take effect if all property owners agree. You can force your sibling’s hand by bringing in an appraiser, but they do not need to sell at that point. Of course, if your sibling does not want to sell the property, this option will not work.

Settling a Partition Lawsuit

More often than not, the courts do not decide on partition lawsuits. So instead, you can settle a partition lawsuit before it even gets there.

For different reasons, a settlement may be preferable for all parties involved.

First, settling a partition lawsuit can save everyone valuable time and money. Remember that everyone involved must chip in to pay the commissioner’s fees. You will also need to take time out of your busy schedule to focus on the lawsuit’s status.

Considering how much a partition lawsuit may cost, it is no wonder many people opt to settle instead.

Settling can also salvage the relationship you have with your siblings. Forcing your sibling to sell an inherited property may strain your relationship. Mending that relationship could prove to be a difficult undertaking.

Maintaining a cordial relationship with your sibling may be easier if you settle the lawsuit.

Do You Need a Real Estate Attorney or a Realtor if You Want to Force a Sale of an Inherited Property?

Let’s say you want to force your sibling to sell an inherited property. Who do you need to hire to accomplish the goal? Will you need a realtor or a real estate attorney?

In all likelihood, you will need both services.

The services of a real estate attorney will come in handy early on when you are trying to establish legal ownership of the inherited property through probate. The court must identify you as the property’s legal owner before you can proceed with any transactions.

Retaining your real estate attorney is a good idea even after you finish probate. If you plan to force a sale, you will likely need to file a partition action. Your real estate attorney can handle the filings on your behalf.

You will still need your attorney even if the partition action does not come to fruition. However, since many of these lawsuits get settled, you want an attorney on your side who can negotiate on your behalf.

Meanwhile, if you opt for partition by appraisal, you will require a realtor’s services. Upon receiving the appraised home price, you and your sibling can start negotiating a buyout. Whether you are the party buying or selling, you want to bring in a realtor so you can get the best deal possible.

Realtors should be brought in for negotiations because they know what a good offer looks like. They can also offer a second opinion on the appraised price of your inherited property.

Why Should You Consider Selling an Inherited Property?

Real estate properties are good investments, so why would you want to sell the one you received as part of your inheritance? Well, there are various reasons why selling an inherited property may be the more sensible move.

Many people would rather sell inherited properties because they simply do not want to worry about the expenses. They would rather sell the property instead of worrying about property taxes and maintenance expenses.

Selling could also be the move if you need a quick infusion of cash. The money you may receive from selling the property could help you out of a tough spot.

Even if selling was not your plan initially, you may decide to go in that direction if you receive a great offer from an interested buyer. Depending on where the property is, there may be buyers who will offer top dollar for it. A buyer may blow you away with an offer and selling may be the most profitable move at that point.

You may even convince your sibling to sell after showing them the generous offer.

Do you need help selling your inherited Rhode Island property? If so, we at RI Home Store can help you out. Contact us today so we can get to work on selling your property.

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