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J. Warren
J. Warren, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 2249
Experience:  Experience in estate planning including wills, trusts and succession planning.
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Your site was very helpful in answering a real estate question

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Your site was very helpful in answering a real estate question for a friend of mine in the State of Oregon. Her terminally ill husband quit claimed his half of an inherited house with his sister to his wife, my friend. My friend and her husband would like sell the house, but his sister does not, can they force the sale and how would they go about doing that if they can?
Hello! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I look forward to helping and providing you information today.

My understanding is a house is owned between 2 people, namely husband's spouse as to a 50% interest and husband's sister as to a 50% interest. Further I understand that the spouse and husband would like to sell the entire house but the husband's sister is not willing to cooperate with the sale.

First, if the house is titled to the two interest owners as "tenants in common" then the husband and wife can sell there 50% interest without the approval of the other owner. A problem with doing this is it is not easy to sell a 50% ownership in a piece of property. So while legally this can be done, it is not always practical.

If the house is titled between the two as joint tenants with right of survivorship then approval of all owners must be obtained to sell the property without court intervention. Regardless of how the property is titled if a mutual agreement to sell can not be reached a party may bring a partition action at petition the court to force the sale.

These suits are not uncommon but as you can imagine are very contentious and the assistance of a skilled attorney in the county in which the property is located should be consulted and retained to pursue such a claim.

Here is a link to the partition statute related to seeking a forced sale. The ORS section is 105.200 et al: www.oregonlaws.org/ors/105.205

The Experts on this forum are not permitted to refer customers to themselves or a specific law firm. However, I can provide you with the Oregon State Bar Lawyer Referral Service that can provide contact information for a lawyer that practices in construction law: http://www.osbar.org/public/ris/

In addition, there is www.lawyers.com and www.avvo.com. Both sites rate and rank lawyers based on client and peer review.

Keep in mind the following when choosing a lawyer:

1. Ask trusted contacts and others in your network circle for names of lawyers;

2 Inquire with the Oregon State Bar to determine if the lawyer is in good standing and if the lawyer has had any disciplinary action;

3. Interview a few attorneys to determine which one you are most comfortable with;

4. Ask what and how much experience they have in litigating partition suits.


All my best & encouragement.

Please note that you are asked to rate my courtesy and professionalism, and not whether the answer supports your legal position. If for any reason you feel that a 2 or 1 rating is appropriate, please first give me the opportunity to address your concerns by clicking the "reply" or “continue conversation” tab.

All states have intricacies in their laws and any information given is simply information only and specifically is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, legal advice. This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship with you.
J. Warren and other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you. My understanding from advise from another attorney on your site, was that when my friends husband quit claimed his interest in the property the title automatically became tenants in common though his interest with his sister was with right of survivor is that correct. Additionally, the real estate taxes have not been paid for several years, I have recommended that my friend pay 1/2 of taxes currently due and when the property is sold have the escrow office hold from the proceeds the remaining taxes owed by the sister, will that work?

That is the general rule yes that a joint tenancy is severed by a quit claim of ones interest to another. Each tenant is responsible for the cost of the property. So a strategy could be to pay one-half and then request the taxes owed and outstanding (representing 1/2 of the total taxes paid) be held in escrow to satisfy the tax debt for the other tenants proceeds.
If this strategy does not work, which it should but you never know, she may have to sue the sister-in-law for the remaining amount she should have paid.

All my best & encouragement.

Please note that you are asked to rate my courtesy and professionalism, and not whether the answer supports your legal position. If for any reason you feel that a 2 or 1 rating is appropriate, please first give me the opportunity to address your concerns.

All states have intricacies in their laws and any information given is simply information only and specifically is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, legal advice. This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship with you.
J. Warren and other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you