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Understanding partition lawsuits

It is very common for siblings to have very different plans when it comes to their inheritance, but when the asset they receive is California real estate, it may be impossible for the each to get their own way. According to SFGate.com, ideally, both owners would agree to sell the property and divide the proceeds equally. However, one owner who is determined to sell may be able to force the other to sell, as well.

The courts will only get involved if one party files a partition lawsuit. This solution typically takes a considerable amount of time, and some people may prefer to simply find a buyer for their own interests in the property rather than force the other out. The new owner is likely to then file the partition lawsuit, so the remaining sibling may still be forced to give up the property. In this type of scenario, both siblings will probably get more from the property if they sell together. 

Often, one sibling has already been living in the home as caretaker of an aging parent. This person may naturally have a much greater incentive to keep the property. In fact, that sibling may even have spent his or her own resources on property taxes, or may have paid out-of-pocket for maintenance or mortgage payments, even though these were legally the responsibility of the owner. In this case, The Washington Post notes, the courts could order that that sibling receive reimbursement for all of those expenditures out of the proceeds of the sale.

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