What to do about a co-owner who cannot make their payments?

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What to do about a co-owner who cannot make their payments?

My mother and her friend has a shared land which they are still paying to this day. Unfortunately, my mother’s friend suffered a stroke is not able to pay her share. My mother’s friend is single and childless and has no Will or power of attorney. Her next of kin is a niece that lives in another state. Does my mother need to pay her friend’s share and, if her friend passes, how can she sell the land and get her share?

Asked on September 4, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for the situation.  I am assuming the payments are for a mortgage, correct?  If your Mother doed not pay the entire amount the property will be foreclosed so she has to make a decision on how she will act. I am also assuming here that her friend is unable to act on her own to make decisions.  Your Mom could bring an action for partition against her friend to ask the court to split the land in two and allow your Mother to sell the property now.  Otherwise she has to wait for an estate to be opened when her friend passes and deal with the sale then.  Good luck.


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