Partition Lawsuit Required If Brother and Sister Can’t Agree on Who Inherits Home

Question: My mother owned a home in the Red Mountain area of Mesa for more than 20 years. She recently passed away. Before she passed away she recorded a beneficiary deed 50/50 for her home, to me and to my sister who lives in Oregon. The home is worth $850,000. My sister needs money so she wants to sell the home as soon as possible. My home is only two miles away from my mother’s home and I want to rent my mother’s home for rental income for both me and my sister. I told my sister that I will do all of the rental paperwork, and we can rent the home until I retire in 10 years and move to Mexico. I now have a letter from my sister’s lawyer saying that my sister will file a partition lawsuit if I don’t agree to sell the home now. What will happen if her attorney files a partition lawsuit?

Answer: If owners of real property such as a home, an office building, or raw land can’t agree on whether or not to sell the real property, a partition lawsuit to sell the property should be filed. There is basically no defense to a partition lawsuit. A Superior Court judge will order that the real property be sold by an appointed Special Commissioner (usually a real estate broker who is familiar with sales of similar properties in the area). After close of escrow the sale proceeds will be deposited with the Superior Court. Usually the sale proceeds are then divided quickly, e.g., one of the parties wants to buy a boat, and the other party owes back taxes. If there is no immediate agreement on dividing the sale proceeds, the parties should mediate with a mediator, e.g., retired judge, selected by the parties.

Note: We have filed dozens of partition lawsuits, and every partition lawsuit has settled at or before mediation. Otherwise, there will have to be the standard litigation, with significant legal fees for motions, depositions, and even a jury trial 2+ years later, and then the appeal.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.