Can a family owned property be sold without one member's consent? - Estate Planning Law Questions and Answers- LawQA.com

Free Answers to your Legal Questions by Lawyers.
ask »


Can a family owned property be sold without one member's consent?

My three sisters and I own a property. It has been in our family for almost 60 years. My grandparent’s intent was for the property to remain in the family but my sisters want to sell it. Can they force me to sell if I am willing to take over all ongoing expenses?


Contact this Attorney Now

Assuming everyone's name is on the deed, they can only sell the property with everyone's consent or with a court order for the sale.

Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 8/20/2012

Answer By Jay W. Moreland
Jay W. Moreland, P.A.
Contact this Attorney Now

If the four of you own a property, all four of you must agree to sell it on whatever terms you all accept. If you cannot agree, there is a court proceeding called a partition.

A partition is a court procedure for a forced sale of the property at a court auction and the proceeds will be divided equally among the four of you.

All of you can bid on the property and the highest bidder gets the property whether it is one of you or an outsider. Unless one of you has enough money to bid its full value, the property will likely sell for less than fair market value at an auction.

Recognizing this the four of you might agree to sell it to one of you or sell it commercially to try to get more money for it.

Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/20/2012

Horn & Johnsen SC
Contact this Attorney Now

Your sisters could hypothetically sell their two-thirds interest in the property without your permission. However, they would need to obtain a court order before they could force you to sell your one-third interest in the property.

Realistically, it would be very difficult to find a third-party buyer willing to purchase a two-thirds interest in real estate. From a legal standpoint, if they both wish to sell the property, there is a good possibility that a judge would order you to either purchase their interest in the property at fair market value (i.e., buy them out) or order the sale of the entire property.

To avoid unnecessary litigation, you may wish to contact a real estate attorney and try to negotiate a buy-out of your sisters' interest through private financing such as a land contract.

Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 8/20/2012

Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
Contact this Attorney Now

No buyer would purchase the property unless all owners joined in the sale. I am assuming that the property is held in your four (4) names as "tenants in common". If you are unwilling to sell, your sisters can only sell their undivided one-fourth shares of ownership.

There is a statutory court action to partition property if you and they are stalemated. Unless the entire property is easily divisible into four pieces, the court may well order you to purchase their interests rather than force them to hold onto the property if that is not their desire.

Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 8/20/2012


Contact this Attorney Now

If it is owned as joint tenants with full rights of survivorship, they cannot force, if it owned as tenants in common, they can.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/19/2012

Law Offices of Charles R. Perry
Contact this Attorney Now

Your sisters cannot force you to sell your interest in the property, without getting a court order for the sale and subsequent distribution of the sales proceeds.

The typical way to obtain that kind of order is through a lawsuit for a "partition" of the property. Your willingness to take over the ongoing expenses in exchange for a promise by your sisters to not sell their interests in the property could be transformed into an enforceable contract.

The simple fact that you are willing to pay those expenses, however, would not prevent a court from ordering a sale if your sisters filed a lawsuit for partition.

You could also negotiate an arrangement to buy your sister's interests in the property, if you are financially able to do this.

If your and your sisters come to an agreement on the property, I would suggest you hire competent counsel to draft the contract. That way, you are better assured that your agreement is clear, and that it satisfies something called "The Statute of Frauds." Best of luck.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/18/2012

Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski
Contact this Attorney Now

You should contact an attorney. It depends on how you won the property. If it is held as Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship then they cannot compel you to sell the property. IF the property is owned as Joint Tenants and not Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship to Tenants in Common they could file a partition action. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/17/2012

Answer By Jeffre Crandall

Contact this Attorney Now

Its called a Partition action.

Basically, its a day in court with the judge and your sisters asking for a forced sale of the property. You can buy them out of their 2/3rds appraised value, or you can take 1/3rd of the (forced) sale price.

Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/17/2012

Answer By James T. Weiner
James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
Contact this Attorney Now

It depends upon how you hold title..If your sisters and you hold it as "tenants in common" they can force a sale by going to court If you hold it as "joint tenants with a right of survivorship" .. everyone has to agree to sell it .. an a court cannot force a sale.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/17/2012


Contact this Attorney Now

You can always purchase your sisters' interests in the property. Have an appraisal done and then offer to purchase their shares of the property.

If you do not want to do that, they can always petition the court to have the property sold and the proceeds divided up among you.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/17/2012

© 2017 MH Sub I, LLC. All rights reserved.
Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy | IB Cookie Policy