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2 sisters own the property they inherited and they both live on it. What if one sister wants to sell and the other doesn't.?

San Mateo, CA |

the property is worth more than 4 million dollars, and the sister who wants to sell wants to cash out. The sister who wants to keep the property doesn't have the assets to pay the other sister for her to buy her out. would the sister wanting to sell get her way or would she be locked into keeping the property? Would they be forced to go to legal means and have to hire a lawyer to get it resolved?

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Attorney answers 8

Best Answer

The sister that wants to sell will eventually get her way after costly litigation by both sides unless you can negotiate an arrangement agreeable to both parties.

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Yes, if they cannot agree they will have to file a petition to partition type action and use the courts. take care. please hire a good local CA real estate attny.

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This is not a divorce question. You should post this on the real property forum.

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How is title held ? Joint tenancy or tenants in common ?

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Actually, the answer depends on several variables that you have not given. In the absence of an agreement between the sisters (such as a co-tenancy agreement in which the co-tenants have agreed to waive their partition rights), the selling sister could bring a partition action. If the real property is large enough, the court may order the property to be subdivided so the remaining sister may not have to "buy out" her sister but rather end up with 1/2 of the real property. Only if the local jurisdiction denies a subdivision or if a subdivision can't equally split the property will the court order the sale of the real property and a split of the proceeds.


A partition action will be moved by the sister who wants to cash out. The court will grant when parties' interests in the real property are acertained. Edward C. Ip

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I agree with Attorney Paul Neumiller. It is important to know is the right to partition has been waived or prohibited in any agreement that affects the property. Partition actions are expensive and time consuming. The preference is to divide in kind rather than partition by sale. If a partition action is filed, both sides will be ordered to ADR, probably mediation, so why not get all parties together and mediate first? If financing is not an option for the would-be purchaser, a third party purchaser of the seller's share may be the answer. Get started on this right away. Gererally, the longer a dispute simmers without resolution, the harder it is to resolve. Good Luck.


I have found that providing the reluctant sibling with a detailed description of how much money will be sucked out of the property by the otherwise inevitable partition action often brings the reluctant sibling to the mediation table. The amount of money that the attorneys, appraisers, referee, agents and experts can take out of the proceeds is usually sufficient motivation to allow the parties to figure out how to settle things.

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