If my mother died an left equal shares of our house to my sister and I, canI force the sell of the property?

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If my mother died an left equal shares of our house to my sister and I, canI force the sell of the property?

My mother passed away, and in her last Will and Testament left equal shares of our home to my sister and I. However, my sister moved her free-loading boyfriend in after I disagreed. Can I force the sell of the property and take my share? Or what other kind of action can I take? Is there a legal way to just get him out of my house?

Asked on November 11, 2010 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can force the sale of the property.  When co-owners can't agree on matters concerning a property, for example, who should pay for certain expenses, how the property should be maintained, who should live there, etc., the law provides an equitable remedy known as "partition" .  This is the name the given to a court ordered division of property among joint owners.   Since this is a single family residence and cannot be divided, a “partition by sale” can be ordered by the court.  Once the property is sold, the proceeds are equitably distributed to the owners.

Note:  Prior to an ordered sale, the court would permit one of the co-owners to buy the other co-owners share property for fair market value.


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