Can co-owners of real estate force a sale of the property?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can co-owners of real estate force a sale of the property?

My mother recently died and left a house and property to me and my 2 sisters. The Trust left me as Trustee and states that me and my sisters are tenants in common. My sisters want to sell the property and I do not. Can they force me to sell my share. Also I cannot afford to buy them out.

Asked on September 4, 2017 under Estate Planning, Michigan


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your sisters can force a sale through something known as "partition". This is a legal remedy that is employed when co-owners of property cannot agree as to ownership matters. If oractical, the property will be divided if practical. If not then their will be a "sale in lieu of partition". Pursuant to this, the property will be ordered sold followed by an equitable distribution of the proceeds. First, however, any owner who wishes to keep the property can buy the other owner(s) out for fair market value.

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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