If a co-owner of real estate wants to keep undeveloped acreage but the other co-owner wants to sell, what can be done legally?

There was a recent deed of distribution filed by the administer of my mother’s estate. The deed gives equal ownership of 52 undeveloped acres to my sister and I. She is trying to force sale. I want to subdivide into 2 equal parcels with equal frontage on bordering highway but she is opposed. Can I force split of acreage so I can keep my half and she can sell hers?

Asked on July 29, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Georgia


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes you probably can. The law provides a remedy known as "partiton". It is used in a situation such as your when co-owners of property (real or personal) cannot agree as to ownership matters. In the case of something like a single family dwelling which cannot be split, a judge will order a sale. However, when property is capable of being split (assuming that zoning codes, etc. can be complied with), then the judge can order that it be done so that one party can sell their share and the other party can retain theirs.

That having been said, a partition action can be time-consuming and costly. Consequently, perhaps you can try to explain things�to your sister and hopefully keep the matter out of court.

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