Can a realtor add a seller’s name to a sales contract without their consent?

UPDATED: Oct 3, 2010

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Can a realtor add a seller’s name to a sales contract without their consent?

My sister (the PR of my father’s estate) is selling the home left to the 5 siblings. We are still in probate (18 months and running) and she does not have the consent of all 5 of us. A contact for the sale is pending. The realtor is adding all the siblings names as the sellers on the contract. The realtor stated that she is not looking into the “the probate or family issues”. She is just trying to sell the home to get us “a little something.” Is this legal or ethical on the part of the realtor? I don’t want to reliquish my property rights.

Asked on October 3, 2010 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Someone cannot be made party to a contract without their consent.  The realtor can put whoever's name on it that they wish but this doesn't make the contract valid.  Depending on the circumstances they could be putting their license in jeopardy.  However, as for not wanting to relinquish your property rights, you may ultimately have no choice due to something in the law known as "partition". This is a legal remedy available to co-owners of property when they cannot agree as to ownership matters (e.g. when beneficiaries don't agree whether or not to sell an inherited house).  Partition allows for the division of property among co-owners; any co-owner can file for such an action. Accordingly, if a property can be physically divided the Court will so instruct.  However, where division would be impracticable (as in the instance of a single family house) a Court would order a sale in lieu of partition and an equitable division of the proceeds among the co-owners.  Before doing so however, the court would permit one co-owner to purchase the interest of the remaining co-owner at fair market value.

Since a partiton involves time and expense, you  may want to re-consider the sale of the property now versus later on down the line.

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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