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Can heirs opt out of owning real estate together?

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2022 | Probate Administration |

When parents own cabins or vacation homes, or other types of second properties, they will often leave them to their heirs jointly. For instance, they may have four children and decide to split the ownership of the cabin between all four equally, so that they all own 25%.

The reason for doing this is simple: It makes everything even. None of the heirs get more than anyone else, and they all have to work together to make decisions about things like maintenance or selling the property.

But what if one heir does not want to be an owner? Maybe they don’t want to take on the responsibilities of property taxes and maintenance. Maybe they can’t afford it. Can they opt out of owning that real estate?

It may require a buyout

Certainly, an heir can opt out of becoming a property owner, and many of them simply choose to walk away. They don’t want the hassle, and they’re happy not being involved.

When things get complicated, though, is when that heir wants the other siblings to buy out their ownership share. For instance, that property might be worth $100,000, so they want the three siblings who remain to come together and pay them $25,000. If those siblings don’t want to do so or lack the capital to do it, is that heir then going to ask to force the sale so that they can get their money out of their inheritance?

You can see that this could become contentious quickly, so it’s very important for all involved to know exactly what steps they can take before a dispute arises.

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