Massachusetts  |  Wills and Trusts

Legal Question

Asked on: 3/19/11, 6:22 am

I own a summer house with my 2 siblings. I want to buy them out, but they keep saying they're not ready to sell for emotional reasons. Can I legally make them sell the home.

2 Answers


Answered on: 3/19/11, 10:41 am by Alexandra Golden

Yes you can. The procedure is called a Petition to Partition. This is brought either in the Probate or Land Courts. The court will appoint a commissioner, whose job it is to sell the property. Once the property is sold, the commission gets paid and the owners split the net proceeds.

However, just because you CAN do something does not always make it a good idea. Consider the possibility that if you force the issue, you may permanently damage your relationship with your siblings. You should weigh this factor against your desire to unload the property. Perhaps you can get them to buy you out instead?


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Answered on: 3/19/11, 11:01 am by Jonathan Roth

You can file a Petition to Partition, but apart from the cost and the discord it will cause between you and your family, there is no guaranty you will get the property. A Partition for Petition will force the sale of the property, you might be the high bidder or they may agree to sell to you, but there is no guaranty that will happen.

A good first step, might be to get them to agree to a first right of refusal when they decide to sell their interest and perhaps the terms of sale, such as appraised value less 5% (brokerage commission). If they will agree to that, at least when they do agree to sell you have a process agreed.

If I can be of further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.


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