When your parents wrote their wills, they left everything — including the family home — to you and your sibling in equal parts. That will, however, was written long ago. It was never updated after your father died, not even when you moved into the home to take care of your mother in her declining years.
Now, the probate process has barely begun, and your brother is already pushing you to sell the home and divide up the proceeds. He says that if you refuse and you can’t afford to buy him out, he’ll force the issue in court through a partition action.
What’s a partition action?
Essentially, the law takes the position that nobody should be forced to keep their assets tied up in a piece of real estate they no longer want to own just because a co-owner is reluctant to sell.
What can you do to defend against a partition action?
While it’s your brother’s obligation to prove the partition is warranted, it’s very difficult to stop a partition action entirely. That doesn’t mean, however, that you aren’t without rights when the situation is unfair.
For example, since your mother was on a pension, you may have poured your own money into various home repairs over the years, kept up the taxes on your own and made substantial improvements to the property that have increased its value. It would be unfair to have to divide all of the proceeds of the house sale down the middle.
Tennessee law does allow the court to make certain adjustments to keep one party from suffering unreasonable losses over the sale. With that in mind, it would be wise to seek an attorney’s assistance here in Jackson as soon as possible. When there’s a dispute over an inheritance, you have to act fast.