How can I protect myself and cash out of a small house that I own 50% of while the owner of the other half is uncooperative?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How can I protect myself and cash out of a small house that I own 50% of while the owner of the other half is uncooperative?

On his deathbed my longtime friend Patrick said he wanted to leave his house and possessions to me. The brother of another friend, Dave, took a notary to Patrick’s hospital room without my knowledge and had him quitclaim the house half to me and half to Dave. It has been recorded. Dave trashed the will docs I provided. And has been collecting rent and had an estate sale of Patrick’s other things. Dave has really out fixed me and I don’t want to lose everything.

Asked on July 5, 2018 under Real Estate Law, California


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

When owners of jointly held property cannot agree as to whether or not to sell any owner who wants to sell has a legal remedy that they can pusue; it is called "partition". In such an action, the court will order that the property sold if possible. If it is not, such as in the case of a single family house, then it instead will order a "sale in lieu of partition". Accordingly, the property will be put on the market and sold for fair market value. The proceeds will then be distributed equitably. However, before the property is offered to 3rd parties, any owner who wants to buy out the other owner(s) will first be given the chance to do so (i.e. they will have the "right of first refusal").

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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