How can I force a joint property owner to buy me out?

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How can I force a joint property owner to buy me out?

I co-own my deceased mother’s condominium with my brother through a living trust. I would like to know how I can legally request he buy out my half. I am financially incapable of paying for my half of the subsequent expenses of maintaining, refurbishing, and renting out the property until money comes in from the rental as an asset. I have asked in writing that my brother provide me with receipts of all expenses so I will know how much I owe, however, he refuses to answer me. I have a paper trail of his noncooperation and would like to be free of this burden.

Asked on August 16, 2011 California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for your situation.  Is your brother the personal representative of your Mother's estate and the trustee of the trust?  Is the matter still going through probate?  You are going to have to have someone take a look at the trust document.  generally speaking when a party jointly owns real property (and a condo is considered real property not like a coop which is shares and a proprietary lease)  and the property becomes a burden to them and they wish to sell but the other party does not, they bring an action for partition, which is a request to the court partition the property - split the asset in two - which results in the court ordering the sale of the property in question.  You can not split real property in half so a sale is the only option to split the proceeds.  It may prompt your brother to buy you out.  Good luck.


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