Partition of Real Estate

Prince died last year. He left no will. The matter is now in probate. His heirs have become owners of his assets. A judge will be asked to determine how to divide those assets. One of the items in the estate is real estate. The judge could determine one of the heirs will be the sole owner of the property or that all of the heirs will own the property together. The heirs can reach agreement on how to manage the real estate together. If, however, one or more of them demands his or her share of the value of the real estate then the court may have to partition the property. 

Partition is a statutorily created means to divide property among people who own property together. Once a partition action is started the court is required to appoint three referees who will view the property to determine how to fairly divide the property among the owners.

If the property is a house then a sale is ordered as a house cannot be divided to give equal value to the owners. The proceeds of the sale is divided among the owners in accord with their percentage of ownership.

If the property is agricultural or bare land then the referees will make a written recommendation to the court for division of the property. The division may not be equal size properties but division to provide properties of approximately equal value to each of the owners. If any one of the owners disagrees with the proposed division then presentations and arguments can be made to the court. A judge will ultimately decide how the property is to be divided.

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