Can My Aunt Force My Still Living Grandparents To Sell Their Home?

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Can My Aunt Force My Still Living Grandparents To Sell Their Home?

My grandparents late 80’s have been on the fence about staying in Southern
California or selling their home and buying a duplex in Washington with my aunt.
They wanted to move in October, after my sister gets married. However, my aunt is
taking matters into her own hands and hired a real estate agent without my
grandparents’ permission in an attempt to sell their home by June. They have no
intention of selling their home anytime soon. Does my aunt having any legal
backing? Can she legitimately force my grandparents’ hand?

Asked on May 15, 2017 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, she CANNOT force them to sell their home unless she is on the title with them (e.g. she is co-owner) and, if the three of them cannot agree on what to do with their jointly owned property, brings an action for "partition"--that is, brings (and wins!) a lawsuit asking the court to order that the property be sold and the proceeds distributed among the owners, due to their inability to agree as to what to do with the property. But only a joint or co-owner can bring such a lawsuit; otherwise, she has not right to force the sale of the property.
(There is one other exception, but you don't write anything indicating that it would apply: IF your groundparents have both been declared legally incompetent by a court and your aunt has been appointed their legal guardian, as the legal guardian over incompetent persons, she may make financial, property, etc. decisions for them.)


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