How can I get my brother to buy me out of the house that we inherited from out father?

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How can I get my brother to buy me out of the house that we inherited from out father?

My father passed away a year ago. He lived in PR with a house that was paid off. The house is left to the 4 of us, my brother and 3 of us girls. He is a doctor and we 3 have moderate jobs and are just making ends meet. My brother decided to upgrade the house to make it a summer home but prior, I asked him to buy me out. He said that he couldn’t right now yet he wants to renovate the house. I pointed out that the money he was going to spend could be used to buy me out. So far he has spent about $80,000 fixing the house and still refuses to buy me out. He said that when he has the time or money he will. Meanwhile, I have no means to travel to visit PR often. Also, he said that when he does buy my share, he will based it on the price prior to the renovations. What can I do?

Asked on July 25, 2017 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You cannot force *him* to buy you out, because every person decides for him- or herself whether to buy property (and what price to offer for it), but you should be able to bring an action for "partition." When there are multiple owners of a property and they disagree as to what to do with it, one or more of them can bring a legal action (the "partition action") in court to get a court order requiring that the home be sold and the proceeds (the profit, after paying costs of sale and any loans or liens) be distributed among the owners; if you bring such a suit, it could be settled by him then agreeing (if he chose to) to buy out your interest. The action would have to be brought in the court where the home is located; you should speak to real estate attorney in that area about this option--this is a procedurally and legally complex action, and not one recommended for someone to do "pro se" (or as their own attorney).


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