If I bought a house together with another person, how can I get them to sign to sell the house?

My mother-in-law and I purchased a house together. She put down the down payment of 33k in 4 years ago; I have made all the mortgage payments of $926 per month and made over 20k of improvements. After 18 months, she moved back to her former state of residence because my wife’s 2 sisters were jealous and talked her to move back. She is 87 years old. Now, 1 of the daughters claims that she has POA for her but mother-in-law is in good health and has all her faculties. I’m getting ready to retire and want to move from out of state. However, my wife’s sister will not let her mother sign the contract to sell the house even though we’re going to split the profits down the middle. What can I do? What is Plan B?

Asked on June 25, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Wyoming


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Plan B is to bring a legal action (lawsuit) for "partition" in chancery court (a branch or division of county court, concerned with court orders and fairness, not awarding money judgments for contract violations or injuries). When the owners of real estate can't agree as to what to do with it, one owner can bring a legal action seeking a court order compelling the sale of the property and the distribution of the proceeds (the matter could, of course, be settled by the owner who doesn't want to sell voluntarily buying out the other owner's interest).
This sort of action is more complicated than, say, suing in small claims court for an unpaid invoice or a fender bender; you are strongly advised to retain an attorney to help you.

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