What to do when beneficiaries cannot agree on the disposition of property?

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What to do when beneficiaries cannot agree on the disposition of property?

Mother past away; daughter is executor living elsewhere; son living in mother’s house. Daughter would like to split the proceeds of house – wants son to give half value of house to her, son wants to continue to live in the house. He does not agree to giving half of the value to sister, what is her recourse?

Asked on October 7, 2010 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In cases where joint owners cannot agree on the whether or not to sell a jointly owned piece of real estate, the party or parties seeking the sale can go to court and file an action for “partition”.

There are 2 kinds of partition:

  • A “partition in kind” is an actual partition. It severs the individual interest of the joint owners and each owner ends up controlling an individual portion of the property.
  • A “partition by sale” is accomplished by selling the entire property and dividing the proceeds equitably among the owners. This type of partition is used when partition in kind is impractical to perform, such as in the division of a single-family home. Note: Before a sale would be ordered, typically the court would permit one of co-owners to purchase the interest of the remaining co-owner(s) for fair market value).

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