How can property be sold if 1 of 9 owners will not consent to a sale?

We have been paying taxes on some inherited property for 15 years and 8 of 9 owners have paid these taxes. We have opportunities to sell the property but the one person who has not paid taxes refuses to consent to sell. Further he has refused to claim his ownership interest in this property. Since he has refused to accept ownership for the past 10 years and therefore has not agreed to pay any portion of the annual property taxes, can we legally sell the property with his agreement and without legal consequences?

Asked on September 7, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Before you do a sale, have a real estate or probate attorney look at the titles and/or wills which resulted in transfer of the property to the latest heirs.
You need to have this review first to see who is actually an owner.  If the estate was never probated, and the 8 owners have been acting and serving as actual owners for the last 15 years, then the 8 owners may be able to claim ownership by inheritance and by adverse possession over the remaining heir. 
If the estate was probated and title did pass fully (meaning something was filed with the county clerk to show who the new owners were), then this document will control who can sell and how.  Most buyers will not or cannot purchase property without the consent of all legal owners.
If the documents are not clear or a new title was not filed during the probate process, then the remaining heirs need to file a suit to clear the title and potentially dispose of the title.  One option is to require the 'hold out' heir to buy out the remaining heirs.  Another option is to have the 'hold out' heir reimburse the other heirs for the expenses they have paid over the years and then have the property ordered to be sold... and shares devided by equity (what's fair after reimbursement), rather than in proportion to ownership (i.e. 1/9 each person).


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