When One Sibling Refuses to Leave Inherited Property

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Junk Home Buyers

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June 20, 2024

what happens when one sibling is living in an inherited property and refuses to

Table of Contents

What if a sibling doesn’t move from a shared inherited property? This happens in many families and creates big problems.12 It’s important to know your legal rights in such tough situations. This helps in finding a fair solution for everyone involved.

Key Takeaways

  • Partition actions can force the sale of an inherited property if siblings cannot agree on its division
  • Siblings living rent-free in an inherited property may be treated as tenants, with standard rental obligations
  • Buying out a sibling’s share in an inherited house requires a legal contract and financing
  • Eviction proceedings can be initiated against a sibling refusing to vacate an inherited property
  • Seeking legal advice early on can help resolve disputes and avoid costly litigation

Inheriting a property might cause arguments among siblings. They could clash over selling, keeping, or renting it. If one sibling lives in the house and won’t leave, legal steps might be necessary to protect everyone’s interests.

In California, there’s an action called partition. It lets a co-owner push for the property’s sale.13 However, this approach can be costly and bring more clashes. It’s often better to try other ways first. For example, the sibling staying in the house could pay rent to the others, or one sibling might buy the others out.1

Sorting out these property issues is hard but not impossible with the right legal help. Knowing what the law says and your choices is key. It can lead to an agreement that keeps peace in the family and shares the assets fairly.123

Understanding the Complexities of Inherited Property Disputes

When you inherit property with siblings, disagreements can arise. Some might want to sell it fast, while others could prefer keeping or renting it.3 Living in the inherited property, one sibling might not want to sell. In such cases, the others or co-owners can push for a sale through a legal process called partition action. This can, however, be quite costly.3 To avoid this, co-owners could try to find a solution together. For example, the one living in the place could pay rent or buy the others’ shares.3

Common Scenarios Leading to Sibling Conflicts

Arguments between siblings often happen when they disagree on the property’s fate. Some want to sell, others wish to keep or rent it.3 These issues can cause deep family rifts and even end up in court if not managed well.

It’s smart to hire a lawyer when dealing with inherited property division. They can help you understand your rights and offer legal solutions.3 A good lawyer can explain options like selling through partition, setting up rent, or buying each other out. This can settle disputes and keep you out of expensive legal battles.3

inherited real estate

what happens when one sibling is living in an inherited property and refuses to

Disputes often arise when siblings inherit property or land together. This is especially true if they can’t agree on what to do with it.4 If one of them is living in the inherited home and won’t sell, the others might push for a partition action in court. This aims to sell the property against the wishes of the sibling who is staying.4 However, going through a partition action can be expensive. Thus, it’s smart for all parties to consider other solutions, like the sibling who’s residing there paying rent or buying the others out.4

In cases where co-owners can’t agree, a legal solution called a partition action might be necessary. This allows for the sale of the property, and then the money is divided among the owners.4 Although using a partition action can be costly, it’s a step that might have to be taken. This is especially true if siblings can’t agree on what to do about their inherited property.

California’s Reforms on Partition Laws for Heirs’ Property

Recently, California changed its laws about partition, especially for properties that were inherited amongst siblings. These changes could affect how disputes over family properties are resolved. If siblings inherited a property together, these new laws might matter a lot.4

partition actions

Navigating Joint Tenancy and Tenancy-in-Common Scenarios

If two siblings inherit a property, they might each own half as joint tenants or tenants-in-common. The difference matters a lot when they want to share or sell the property.4

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Joint Tenancy and the Right of Survivorship

In a joint tenancy, when one sibling dies, the other automatically gets their part.4 This way, the property smoothly becomes fully owned by the living sibling, without a will needing to say how.

Tenancy-in-Common and Intestate Succession

With tenancy-in-common, siblings own a part of the property together. If one dies, their part doesn’t go to the others. It’s given out as they wished in their will, or based on the law if no will is there.4 This can cause problems if some want to sell but others don’t.

When siblings want to sell but not all agree, they might have to make a partition action. This means getting a court to agree to sell the property. Then they divide the money fairly.4

Sibling Living in a Deceased Parent’s House

When a4 sibling lives in a parent’s house, it’s not always a problem. They might be allowed to use the house by the will or trust. This could be for their whole life.4 But, if the home is meant to be shared equally by the siblings, it can cause issues. The sibling living there rent-free might not seem fair to the others.4

Provisions in Wills and Trusts

If the will or trust doesn’t clearly say the sibling can live there, a legal step may be needed. A partition action could be used. This would mean selling the house if everyone can’t agree on what to do.4

Handling Rent and Eviction Matters

The person handling the estate should make sure rent is paid by the sibling. If not, they could be responsible for any loss in value of the estate.4 Even if the sibling tosses rent away, they must be treated like any usual tenant. They could be taken to court for not paying rent or even be evicted.4

Addressing Rent-Free Living Situations

If you have a sibling living rent-free in a house you inherited, it’s important to check if they own part of that home. Also, was the use of the property given for their life by the last owner?5 Letting someone live in your inherited house without paying helps them save a lot of money. This can be good for everyone involved.5 If someone isn’t a full owner but is still living in your inherited house without paying, it can be complicated. They may have to face legal steps or share some financial responsibilities with you.

Co-Ownership Rights and Responsibilities

If you and your siblings own the home together and one of them is living there for free without permission, issues can arise. This could lead to that sibling paying rent. Or even selling their share of the house to the others.6 The sale of the house goes equally to all if it’s owned in common. But, in joint tenancy or tenants in common, it’s divided based on ownership shares.6 Discussing how to solve these problems can help avoid legal actions. This may include requesting rent, buyouts, or other financial arrangements.

If this free-living sibling isn’t an owner, they can be treated as any other tenant not paying rent.5 Issues might get complex if there are debts and taxes related to this rental-like situation. But, if the will or trust allowed them to live there without paying, it’s a different story.5 Living next to or with a non-paying sibling in such a case might mean conflict. It underlines the need for honest talks to avoid misunderstandings.5

5 Choosing to rent the inherited place can give you some financial benefits. You control who lives there and may earn extra money. This way, both those who own and those living there can gain.5 Other alternatives include making it better, turning it into smaller homes, or selling to share the money with co-owners.

Inherited Properties with Existing Mortgages

When siblings get a house with a mortgage after inheritance, problems can pop up. If one can keep up with the payments but others can’t, it gets tricky.4 Often, selling the house is the way to go. If they prefer holding onto it, making payments on time is key, based on what each owns.4 Another way is for one sibling to handle the whole mortgage. The others then pay back their shares with interest over time.4

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Dividing Mortgage Responsibilities Among Siblings

Typically, the executor or trustee takes care of the mortgage until they add the new owners or sell the house.4 This keeps the property in good shape and the mortgage current as changes happen.4

Executor’s Role in Mortgage Payments

In many cases, executors look after paying the mortgage on inherited homes. They do this until the home is passed on or sold.4 It ensures the house is well-kept and bills are paid as the estate moves forward.4

Buying Out a Sibling’s Share

Imagine one sibling wants to keep a house they inherited, but another wants to sell it. The solution could be for one to buy out the other.7 They start with an agreement that says how the sale will happen, with the price included.7 The one buying must find the money, maybe through a loan or help from a probate advance company.7 The selling sibling then transfers their ownership with a deed of release.7 Doing this with the right legal help makes it quite simple.

Negotiating a Buyout Agreement

When one sibling wants the inherited home and the other wants to sell, they have to talk.7 They make a deal that includes the buyout price.7 They should check the home’s value and what’s inside, making sure the price is fair.

Financing Options for Buyouts

Getting the money to buy the sibling out has many options.7 Sometimes, you need special loans for inherited homes.7 You might also use a home loan, money from a lender, or a credit union.7 The process is like getting a mortgage. Having an expert guide you is wise.7

Evicting a Sibling from an Inherited Property

When a property is inherited from parents, siblings often become co-owners. This means they have equal rights.4 If you wish to force a sibling out, legal steps are necessary. This can involve a process where the property is either divided or sold. The money from the sale is then shared among the siblings.4

In California, special legal steps can be taken if a sibling lives in a property owned by the family trust. Trustees can file a petition in probate court to make the sibling leave. This petition aims to return the property to the trust so it can be managed according to the parents’ wishes.1

The 850 Petition in California

Different legal strategies can be used in California to kick a sibling out of a home or to sell a house when siblings can’t agree.1 If a sibling is living in a parent’s house without moving, things can get complicated.1 Ways to handle this include talking through issues, getting legal advice, going to court, or making agreements about what to do with the property.1

Partition Actions: Forcing the Sale of an Inherited Property

If you inherit property and your sibling won’t agree to sell it, you can use a partition action. This legal move guarantees everyone’s rights are honored.8 In California, any co-owner can use the partition law to force a sale.9 The property gets sold by a referee, and the money is shared among owners.

The Absolute Right to Partition in California

In California, the right to force the sale of a shared property is absolute. Co-owners don’t need to agree, unless they made a binding deal before.9 If owners can’t decide or the property can’t easily split up, then a partition action is allowed.8

Initiating a Partition Action

9 Starting a partition action is like going to court to sell the property against some owners’ wishes.9 Any owner, even without the others’ agreement, can push for a sale.9 Legal fees might be high, over $5,000 in simple cases, but the right to start a partition makes a sale hard to stop.9

Probate Proceedings and Inheritance Rights

When a parent dies without a will, their estate faces probate. It will be shared based on the rules of4 intestate succession. This involves splitting the parent’s home and assets equally among their kids.10 But, issues may come up when one child lives in the family home, affecting what the others inherit.

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Intestate Succession and Asset Distribution

Without a will, a parent’s estate follows intestate succession laws. This means the property, like the home, is divided fairly among the heirs.10 Typically, when siblings inherit a home, ownership is shared equally unless the will says differently.10

Potential for Partition Actions in Probate

If one sibling stays in the family home and blocks others’ rights, those left out might opt for legal action. Through a4 partition action, they can claim their share in the house.4 Such actions might be needed to sell the property. This ensures every co-owner’s interests are considered.4

Resolving Sibling Disputes Through Mediation

Dealing with arguments over inherited property can be tough. But let’s not forget the love we share in our family’s home. Choosing negotiation and compromise over expensive legal fights can keep family ties strong.4 Mediation, with a neutral mediator, opens the door to talks and peaceful solutions. This way, there’s no need for harsh actions that tear families apart.4

The Benefits of Negotiation and Compromise

When siblings get land or property as an inheritance, disagreements often occur.4 But, by considering negotiation and compromise, they may find answers that meet everyone’s needs. And they do this without going through courts. It not only keeps the peace but can also be quicker and cheaper than legal battles.4

Seeking Professional Mediation Services

If brothers and sisters can’t agree, seeking help from a mediator is a wise move. Mediators are fair and use a structured process to help everyone find a fair solution.4 A good mediator aids in clear talks, finds common points, and crafts realistic ways out of the argument about their inheritance.4

Protecting Your Inheritance Rights

Dealing with a sibling over a shared inheritance requires the right legal help. An experienced4 estate litigation attorney is key. They will look into the will, trust papers, and deeds. From there, they’ll suggest what to do.

You might need to talk with your sibling, go to court to split the property,3 or consider other steps.43

The Role of an Estate Litigation Attorney

If your sibling is blocking your inheritance, a good attorney is a must. They’ll make sure you understand all your rights. With their help, you can decide on the best steps.

An estate litigation attorney offers great support. They can guide you through complex issues. This includes protecting your inheritance rights and finding legal solutions. Together, you can aim for a fair outcome.

Figuring out what to do is hard. But, with a skilled estate litigation attorney, it gets easier. They’ll help weigh your choices and plan a way to safeguard your rights.

You might decide to talk things over, take legal action to sell the property,3 or try other routes.43 Their knowledge lets you act smartly. This is important, especially when dealing with a challenging family situation.


Dealing with fights over inherited property is tough. But, with legal advice and a will to compromise, there’s hope. You can solve the issue without ruining family bonds. Everyone’s right to inheritance can still be honored.11

Problems might arise if a sibling doesn’t want to move out, if you can’t agree on selling, or can’t find a fair buyout solution. Knowing what to do is key. This ranges from going to court to talking it out.1112

Talking to an expert estate lawyer can help protect what’s rightfully yours. They will look at all the legal paths and aim for a just outcome. This is true even if a will or plan was left. It takes being patient and ready to give a little to solve the conflict.12
Finding a way that respects everyone’s part of the estate is possible. It can keep the family together and honor what was left by the deceased.

  1. https://hessverdon.com/sibling-living-in-deceased-parents-home/
  2. https://www.aldavlaw.com/blog/sibling-living-deceased-parents-house/
  3. https://rmolawyers.com/what-happens-when-a-beneficiary-is-living-in-an-inherited-house/
  4. https://keystone-law.com/inheriting-a-house-with-siblings/
  5. https://www.cashofferplease.com/blog/sister-living-rent-free-in-inherited-house/
  6. https://lawhive.co.uk/knowledge-hub/property/sister-living-rent-free-in-inherited-house/
  7. https://trustandwill.com/learn/inheritance-buyout
  8. https://gokallaw.com/taking-siblings-to-court-can-siblings-force-the-sale-of-inherited-property/
  9. https://jonespropertylaw.com/forced-sale-of-jointly-owned-property-partition/
  10. https://www.rocketmortgage.com/learn/inheriting-a-house-with-siblings
  11. https://rmolawyers.com/how-to-divide-inherited-property-between-siblings/
  12. https://www.georgiafairoffer.com/blog/inheriting-a-house-in-georgia/

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