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Real Estate Q&A: What Are Our Rights After Selling Our Relative Share Of Homes? | | Jobs

Q: My parents bought a house with my sister many years ago. They lived there, and she raised six daughters. Her parents died, and a few years later her sister died, leaving her nephew. One of my sisters lives at home with her family. Since then some of my other siblings have also passed away. My nephew recently sold what he thought was part of his house to an investor without consulting anyone.What are our rights?—Andrea

A: This is a complicated situation. From your question, it appears that neither your parents nor your sister planned their deaths, nor did any of their property be probated.

The answer to your question depends on how the deed was drafted, whether your deceased relatives had a will, and whether anything was done with their property.

To determine who owns what, you need to look at a home’s ownership history, called the “chain of ownership.” Also, to clear this up, it is necessary to probate the property of the deceased relatives.

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Assuming no one had a will and no one probated the property, your parents owned half the property and your sister owned the other half. When both parents died, half of them would have descended on the then-living children.

Assuming 7 children survived, your sister owned half of herself and 1/7 of the shares she inherited. Her six remaining siblings will each own one-seventh of her property. Later, when your sister died, her son inherited her share.

Taking this one step further, if any of the remaining siblings dies, that portion of the house will pass to the spouse or children. If they had none, their share would have gone to their living brothers.

Anyone who owns part of the house, including your nephew, can sell part of the house to whoever they want.

But rarely does someone want to buy part of someone else’s home. Each partial owner can also force the sale of the entire asset by filing a “division” action, with each owner getting their fair share of the proceeds.

Florida Attorney Gary M. Singer practices real estate, business litigation, and contract law in Sunrise, Florida. www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on twitter @GarySingerLaw.

Copyright 2022 Tribune Content Agency.


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