Partition of Heirs Property Act


When the owner of real property dies without a will, the owner's heirs take title as tenants-in-common. Tenancy-in-common is an unstable form of ownership because any individual tenant can force partition of the property. If the property cannot be divided to everyone's satisfaction, the property may be sold at auction with the proceeds divided among the heir-owners. Real estate speculators sometimes take advantage of this condition by purchasing the share of one tenant-in-common, then forcing a partition sale to acquire the entire parcel at a price below its full market value. The Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act protects landowners by requiring an independent appraisal for heirs property that is subject to a partition action. All non-petitioning owners have a right of first refusal to purchase the petitioning owner's share at its full appraised value. If the other owners do not exercise their right and the property must be partitioned, the act requires partition-in-kind unless such a division would result in prejudice to the owners as a group. If a partition sale is required, the property must be offered for sale in a commercially reasonable manner for the full appraised value, unless the court determines another method is economically advantageous.

Committee Members

Benjamin Orzeske Staff Liaison