The Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA) helps preserve family wealth passed to the next generation in the form of real property.
Affluent families can engage in sophisticated estate planning to ensure generational wealth, but those with smaller estates are more likely to use a simple will or to die intestate. For many lower- and middle-income families, the majority of the estate consists of real property. If the landowner dies intestate, the real estate passes to the landowner’s heirs as tenants-in-common under state law.
Tenants-in-common are vulnerable because any individual tenant can force a partition. Too often, real estate speculators acquire a small share of heirs’ property in order to file a partition action and force a sale. Using this tactic, an investor can acquire the entire parcel for a price well below its fair market value and deplete a family’s inherited wealth in the process.
UPHPA provides a series of simple due process protections: notice, appraisal, right of first refusal, and if the other co-tenants choose not to exercise their right and a sale is required, a commercially reasonable sale supervised by the court to ensure all parties receive their fair share of the proceeds.