Long Division: Owners of heirs’ property beware

This is a scenario that you and your family must be aware of, especially if you are the rightful owners of inherited property also known as “heirs’ property”…

Your’re spending time with your siblings at the family property when the phone rings:

“We’re interested in buying your property,” the caller says.

One of your sisters is very interested. The other siblings have mixed feelings, so the family clearly needs to discuss the matter among themselves.

However, that real estate investor is likely to call back again on another day. The investor might actually offer to buy your sister’s share of the property for a few thousand dollars. If she agrees and signs the paperwork, then that investor will become a co-owner of the property along with you and your other siblings. The title might actually appear as if the investor is the true owner of the entire property.

When joint ownership of heirs’ property is divided in this way, it may result in long legal battles with complex issues. Some common claims and procedures in these situations include the following:

  • Constructive trust
  • Fraud
  • Partition
  • Equitable estoppel
  • RPAPL Article 15
  • Adverse Possession
  • Eviction
  • Probate
  • Administration

Waiting too long to resolve these issues is not wise. Legal representation is advisable, and prompt action is the best approach to try and salvage the property or its fair market value.