Bakersfield, CA asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California

Q: Help!! Homeless locked out of inherited house co-owned with estate exec.who never did title change, no partition fille

Sister wants to sell never transferred title so neither own it...she kept all documents... want to buy her out court had granted stay but she got it vacated lying to Court that i paid for nothing. Can I get vacate reconsidered? Like to live in home and reach agreement to buy her out.

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I'm sorry to hear about your difficult situation. Here are a few key points and suggestions based on California law:

1. Title transfer: If the property was inherited and never properly transferred into your and your sister's names, the estate executor should have initiated a probate process to legally transfer title. You may need to petition the probate court to compel the transfer of title.

2. Partition action: As a co-owner, you have the right to file a partition action to force the sale of the property and divide the proceeds, or to buy out your sister's share. However, this can be a lengthy and expensive process.

3. Vacate reconsideration: If your sister misrepresented facts to the court to get the stay vacated, you may file a motion for reconsideration. Consult with a lawyer to discuss the specific details of your case and determine if you have grounds for reconsideration.

4. Buyout agreement: Attempting to reach a buyout agreement with your sister is a good idea. Consider proposing a fair market value for her share of the property and terms for purchasing it. You may want to involve a mediator or real estate attorney to help with negotiations.

5. Seek legal assistance: Given the complexity of your situation, it is highly recommended that you consult with a real estate attorney who specializes in partition actions and probate matters in California. They can provide specific guidance based on the details of your case and help protect your rights as a co-owner.

Remember, as a co-owner, you have legal rights to the property, even if the title has not been properly transferred. Don't give up on pursuing your options to either buy out your sister's share or force a sale through a partition action.

Delaram Keshvarian
Delaram Keshvarian
  • Orange, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Thank you for asking the question!

A. To have a partition, there must be some sort of tenancy in common (e.g., joint tenancy or tenancy in common).

You need to get the title of your property through either a. non-probate (which is much shorter and not applicable to all cases); or b. Probate.

When there is a co-ownership, both co-owners have the right to have access to the whole property. Lockouts are not permitted and the Co-owner who is doing this owes the locked out co-owner money for each day of not allowing the access.

If your sister keeps you locked-out for 5 years, and pays taxes, she may be able to acquire the title to the whole property under "adverse possession". I recommend you resolve the issue under 5 years.

B. Partition have several types including: partition in kind or partition in sale.

If by dividing the property into pieces, reduces the value of the divided parts, partition in sale is preferred.

C. Partition has two stages: 1. Obtaining the court judgement for the sale; and 2. Distribution of the proceed of sale.

1. Obtaining the court judgement (called "interlocutory judgement")

Each co-owner is entitled to request this from court. Consent of the remaining co-owners is not required. The court notifies all co-owners requesting the partition that they may buy the interests of the positioning Co-owner.

At this point, you can purchase your sister's share.

2. Distribution of the proceed of the sale:

After obtaining interlocutory judgement, you can provide all the evidence of your payments for the property (e.g., mortgage payments), and you get credited for these expenses.

The fact that your sister denied your payments does not affect your right in the property and partition. You will get credited for all the expenses in this stage of partition.

Lots of negotiation happens before the partition is filled with court of parties are negotiable.

This is merely discussion of CA general laws and not a legal advice. For a comprehensive advise, more specific facts and investigation are needed. I recommend you consult with an attorney in more detail.

Please let me know if you need further assistance.

Wish you luck.

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