Immobilized by Contention/Indecision?


Do you need to have a succession done or want to sell something that you co-own with others who do not want to budge?

SITUATION: Many clients present themselves with ancestors' successions, sometimes five or more at a time. These successions have not been done because a difficult relative stalled the entire process fifty years ago and no one had the courage to undertake the succession in the face of this adversity. Now the later generations do not have a clue whether one individual of many can initiate the successions.


The client(s) presents with ancestral succession(s) completed, but land or a home that must be sold so that the proceeds can be divided between the heirs or land that needs to be divided between the heirs so that each heir has defined acreage. By the way, often one heir often is using the land or living in the home. It will come as no surprise that this heir is the one who does not want the land to be divided or the home to be sold so that the others may receive their portions. Nor does this heir want to purchase the land or home. All of these present logical solutions to undivided co-ownership, but none of them have taken place because the occupant will not agree.

FACT: If you are an heir, you are entitled to complete the succession(s) or have the undesired co-ownership* cease. You are entitled to be placed in possession of your part of the land or proceeds of the sale.

The laws of our state enable heirs or co-owners in these circumstances to achieve the opposed succession or the division of property called a partition without the consent of every party.

Especially in rural areas it is not unusual to have acreage that lies in deceased persons names through two or even three generations. It may be the grandchildren who finally cause their grandparents' and parents' successions to be done resulting in many cousins finally receiving their interest in the acreage on paper. The actual division of the property called the partition can either be included in the successions of the ancestors or by a separate document called a partition. Usually a surveyor will be employed to divide the property and provide legal descriptions for each.

If division does not occur voluntarily, a petition can be filed with the court to force the division.

* Generally, co-ownership is only obligatory when a written agreement binding one to the co-ownership has been signed or the alienation of mineral interest so dictate. This agreement cannot be more than 15 years in most instances.

Alexandria Town Talk            March 2008


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