How can you sell a parent’s home without 1 of the heirs?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How can you sell a parent’s home without 1 of the heirs?

It’s 5 of us and our names are on the probate I had done. However 1 of the heirs, my niece, will not answer phone calls, texts or emails. The buyer called her when I told him no one could speak with her and she hung up the phone on him. Is there a way to send papers for her to sign over her rights to the property. I was the only one paying taxes for the past 13 years. So if the majority is ready to sign, is there a way to move forward?

Asked on April 6, 2018 under Estate Planning, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, there is: when one of two or more owners of real estate refuses to sell, the other owner(s) can bring a legal action (lawsuit), traditionally called an action "for partition" (though your state may have a different name for it) in which a court order is sought compelling the sale of the property. The law does not trap people who want to sell or separate themselves from real estate into having to keep owning it just because there is another person who does not want to sell. The court order will require that the property be sold and the proceeds (after paying court costs, costs of sale, and paying off any mortgages, HELOCs, liens, etc.) be distributed among the owners. This can be a complex action to bring, certainly compared to, say, a small claims case; the owners who want to sell are strongly advised to retain a real estate attorney to help them.

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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