It’s difficult to lose a loved one. When they also leave behind a property, it is typically with good intentions. However, oftentimes, complications accompany the inheritance as well, especially when you want to sell a Houston house with multiple heirs.
We’ve helped thousands of people resolve their contested heirship cases, and have seen that the most common cause for confusion in title disputes after a property owner dies is the lack of a will. You can’t sell a house until you resolve the title issues, so we offer some advice on heir property ownership.
Heir Property Ownership is when multiple people own a property because the deceased owner did not specify heirship in their will.
When a house is inherited and passed down, the number of interest holders increases exponentially with each passing generation. This increases the chances that the heirs do not:
Live on or near the land.
Live near each other.
Know one another.
Know how to locate one another.
Have a connection to the land.
The more heirs that come out of the woodwork, the larger the chances are that you may lose the home. Here’s how to avoid that.
If you inherited a house with other heirs and there is no will, there are solutions to owning the property without increasing the amount of interests over time. These are the three primary solutions:
One solution is to buy out the other owners. When there are multiple interests in a property, it is common that they will have different desires for the same property. Some will want to sell, and some might want to hold on to the house. If you want to be the only owner of the property, you might consider buying out the share of your siblings or co-heirs. This option is most common when one of the heirs has a special affinity or attachment to the home.
Another option would be for the heirs to partition the property. A partition is the dividing of lands so that they may be owned separately, and each partition can be converted to sole ownership rather than co-ownership.
Partitioning is great because each person gets sole ownership (of something), which helps avoid many of the conflicts that arise from joint possession. If the property is small, or cannot be physically partitioned for other reasons, then it can also be partitioned by dividing the proceeds from the sale of the property.
This is another popular option for dealing with an inherited property, whether or not there is a will. The executor simply prepares the house for sale on the traditional market. This process allows the heirs to receive the most from the proceeds, but also requires a lot more time, money, effort and communication. You can also sell to an investor at a discount for cash if you need a quick closing. Many people end up going this route; a large percentage of inherited homes are sold to investors. In many cases, heirs just don’t want to spend the time and money to fix up the house for sale.
One of Houston Estate Services’ clients, Peggy, was in a position where the family was not communicating well. Our client was the executor of the estate, and her and her siblings decided that selling quickly for cash and dividing it among the siblings would be the best for everyone.
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