What are our rights if my mother died and left her house to myself and 3 siblings but 1 of them has taken over the property and refuses to sell?

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What are our rights if my mother died and left her house to myself and 3 siblings but 1 of them has taken over the property and refuses to sell?

One of the siblings was living in the house when she died. He does not want to buy the rest of us out. He is currently living in the house, has changed the locks to the house and is not willing to sell it to anyone else. What are our rights. All four children/siblings names are on the deed. The mortgage was paid off before she died. What rights do the 3 siblings have against the 4th?

Asked on January 27, 2013 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you inherited the property and it has been trnsferred into all of your names, then the 3 can force the 1 to sell. The reason is that when co-owners cannot agree as to ownership matters (here, whther or not to sell), the parties in favor of the sale can go to court and file an action for a remedy known as "partition". This is a legal tool which allows for the division of property among co-owners; if the property can be physically divided. However, where division would be impracticable (as in the instance of a single family dwelling), a court would order a "sale in lieu of partition" and an equitable division of the proceeds among the co-owners. However, before doing so, a co-owner(s) would be given the option to purchase the interest of the remaining co-owner(s) at fair market value.

At this point you should consult directly with a local real estate attorney.


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