Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Georgia

I live in Georgia. My dad died back in 2010, no will, but my brother and I ended up with about 175 acres of his land. Actually, his estate has 175 acres, but my brother and I are co-administrators. That being the case, if my brother wants to sell his half and I don't, can I be forced to sell or buy him out or do both of us have to agree to the sale?

Asked on 5/12/13, 3:46 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Glen Ashman Ashman Law Office

Unless you and he agree on somethingh else, the land has to be sold. You can either reach an arrangement with him, or each of you can lawyer up and spend many thousands to have a court ordered sale that will net a lower price. So talk to the estate lawyer (and if you do not have one, you were supposed to have hired one in 2010), discuss the best way to market the property, and save yourself and your brother a lot of money.

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Answered on 5/12/13, 4:28 pm

You do not indicate where your father lived at the time of his death or where the land is located. It may make a difference.

First, you indicate that you and your brother are co-administrators of the estate. That suggests that an estate was probated. Is that still pending? Is there a will (administrators can be appointed if there are no named executors or if the named executors are unable or unwilling to serve)? What does the will say about the property if it exists? Is there enough money in the estate to satisfy any claims? Are you and your brother the sole heirs to the land?

Assuming that you and your brother are the only heirs, there is no will, that the land is in GA and there are no outstanding claims, then the property would pass jointly to you and your brother in equal shares. Is the land capable of being fairly divided? Are all 175 acres contiguous (next to each other) rather than in separate parcels in separate areas? If so and if the land cannot be divided, then either of you can bring what is called a partition action. In a partition action, the court will ultimately order the land to be sold and the money divided between you and your brother if things cannot be worked out.

What I would suggest that you do is offer to buy out your brother's share of the land. If necessary, you may need to get a mortgage/equity loan to pay him off.

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Answered on 5/13/13, 11:06 pm

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