Ever since you were a kid, you can remember spending the summers at the family’s vacation cottage. It is just an hour or so from your main home in the city, but it has a secluded atmosphere and direct water access. It’s a relaxing place to go to. You and your brothers and sister made many memories over the years as you swam in the water, had campfires on the beach, played volleyball in the sun, took the boat out fishing and much more. 

Then your parents passed away, and they left the cottage to all of you equally. There are four heirs, and you each own 25%. Now, what do you do with it?

The first option is just to keep it in the family. You can all split up the property taxes and maintenance costs and you can keep using the cottage just like you always have. You can bring your children there. They can make their own memories. 

That sounds easy, but the problems arise when people do not agree. Perhaps one of your siblings doesn’t visit much and isn’t nearly as excited to get the cottage. They want to sell it and get their money out of it; the property is very valuable. The rest of you can’t imagine selling. Your sibling who wants out says to just pay them for their 25%, but it’s not that easy. None of you has that type of money on hand and, even if you did, you don’t want to buy that quarter of the property from your sibling. 

Financial matters like this can get contentious, and you need to understand your legal options for handling your inherited real estate.