How can you sell a life estate if one of remainders will not agree?

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How can you sell a life estate if one of remainders will not agree?

My sister has life estate. She has an illness and wants to sell house and move from VA to SC to be with her daughter. I am one of remainders and my brother is the other remainder. My sister and I have contacted him but he has not agreed to sell. There is bad blood between he and I. My sister and I want to know what we can do if he doesn’t agree to sell?

Asked on March 30, 2019 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

A lawsuit can be filed against him in county court seeking a court order requiring the sale of the house (and that the proceeds thereof, after paying costs of sale and any mortgages, HELOCs, liens, etc. be split among the owners). This is called an action "for partition" and is the law's recourse when the owners of real estate cannot agree as to what to do to it. Between your sister and you, you represent both present and future (remainder) rights, so the two of you together should be able to bring this suit.


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