Inheriting property can bring a vast array of emotions, from joy and anticipation to worry and stress. Especially when you inherit jointly with family members, the dynamics of deciding how to handle the property are often complex. If a dispute arises between joint heirs, opting for real estate mediation is an excellent way to create mutual understanding and explore solutions under Texas Law. A real estate mediation attorney provides an unbiased third-party view to help all parties evaluate their options without feeling pressured into any one course of action.
Real Estate Disputes When Inheriting Joint Property
When you find yourself in a situation where you and a family member or multiple family members have inherited joint property in Texas, it can be challenging to agree on how to handle it.
Many options are possible for all involved, including:
- One or more heirs live in the home as a house sitter, and others only retain interest. Everyone helps pay for all home expenses and repairs
- One or more heirs live in the home and pay rent to the others
- One or more heirs live in and care for all home repairs, upkeep, or remodels, while others retain interest
- All heirs agree to hire an attorney to sell the land/home and split the proceeds
There are also many ways heirs can disagree and need help finding a solution:
- What if one person wants to repair or remodel and others do not?
- One heir wants to keep the home, and the others want to sell it. They negotiate but can’t find an agreement?
- How do you handle taxes and maintenance expenses?
- What if a partial owner stops paying rent?
When heirs disagree about who should live in an inherited property or whether to sell the home, disputes between joint property heirs can arise quickly.
When Is it Time to Begin Real Estate Mediation?
If you have an inheritance property with multiple heirs in Texas with heated disputes threatening to damage relationships among family members?
If so, it may be time to seek the help of a real estate lawyer or mediation attorney. The attorney can evaluate your situation and propose potential solutions for all involved. Not only will this educate all parties about their options under Texas law, but it also serves as a great starting point for discussing how best to divide the joint property without compromising relationships.
When settlement discussions don’t work, and your dispute involves other parties who want to take the matter to court, a mediation session can help find an agreement. Avoiding expensive and lengthy court battles can help you settle, resolving the strife between family members.
What is a Neutral Third Party? How Can I Know The Mediator Won’t Choose Sides?
A neutral third party is a mediator who listens to all parties involved in the dispute and helps them reach an amicable solution. A real estate mediation attorney has no vested interest in the mediation conference outcome, so they do not take sides or try to force any one particular outcome on the joint heirs.
The mediator’s sole job is to work with all parties to explore solutions that work for everyone. The mediator is not there to judge or make decisions but rather to help the heirs find common ground and develop creative solutions they may not have considered before.
Why is a Real Estate Attorney the Best Choice for a Joint Property Dispute?
A mediation attorney is an uninvolved third party who can objectively evaluate the situation in light of Texas law. Real estate mediation attorneys are experts in helping resolve disputes. Their training enables them to guide a discussion of potential resolutions and consequences while providing detailed insight into everyone’s options under Texas law.
Additionally, an alternative dispute resolution attorney can bring their extensive legal knowledge to bear on the situation, which can often help resolve complex scenarios faster than if heirs attempt to do it alone. Your real estate attorney is invaluable in finding creative solutions that address both the legal and personal aspects of a joint property inheritance dispute.
Real estate mediation can help you find solutions to legal disputes. With mediation, heirs can ensure the consideration of all parties’ interests while protecting family members’ relationships with each other.
Why Would a Joint Heir Feel So Strongly About Selling Property?
One reason some heirs may want to sell an inherited home involves liability. Any debt or obligation incurred by one owner can affect the others.
If a joint owner of your real estate property is irresponsible, they could end up doing one of the following:
- Filing bankruptcy
- Bringing down a tax lien for lack of payment
- Receiving a judgment against themselves
In these situations above, creditors may place a lien on the home and seize property to collect a debt that is not yours. The property could end up at a public auction!
What is a Partition Lawsuit?
Let’s say multiple heirs inherit a home jointly as co-owners with equal ownership percentages. In that case, you all have equal rights to stay in the house.
However, often heirs disagree about what to do with the property. For example, while one co-owner may wish to sell, another may want to live there and pay rent. A third co-owner may file a partition action lawsuit to divide the inherited property into equal parts.
All three co-owners in this example have the right to file a partition lawsuit. In a partition lawsuit, a judge may divide the land into separate properties, with each co-owner possessing an “equal” percentage of the divided property. Or the judge may order the property sold at auction with proceeds equally divided among the co-owner heirs.
Under Texas Property Code § 23.001, a joint owner can file a petition to force the creation of separate and distinct parcels from a single property. If the property cannot be split equally among the owners, then the court can force the sale of the property at auction! However, courts will generally avoid forcing a sale. These forced sales are at public auction.
As heirs of a joint property, Special Rules in Texas Property Code Chapter 23A may apply in your situation. The special rules in Texas law allow heirs to buy out the interest of the co-owner who is attempting to force the home’s sale. The other owners may then list the property with a real estate broker for fair market value.
The judge will not force the home into an auction sale if the special litigation rules apply.
How Does the Real Estate Mediation Process Work in Texas?
The mediation process is a dispute resolution system where parties agree to discuss their situation with the other side and a trained mediator.
Mediation is a process of negotiation that a neutral third party facilitates. It allows all parties to discuss their perspectives, identify their needs and interests, and work collaboratively towards a resolution that satisfies everyone involved. Mediation resolves a wide range of legal disputes, including real estate disputes between co-owners.
During a mediation session, parties sit down with a mediator to discuss their issues. The mediator listens to each party’s side of the story and helps them identify the underlying interests and concerns driving their positions. The mediator then guides the parties through a discussion of possible solutions to address these interests and concerns.
Mediation is confidential, meaning everything discussed in the session remains private. This confidentiality allows all parties to speak freely without worrying about their words being used against them later. It also promotes a sense of trust and openness among the parties, which can help facilitate a successful resolution.
The mediator does not make any decisions for the parties. Instead, they help the parties find common ground and work towards a mutually acceptable solution. If the parties find a solution while in mediation, the mediator can help them draft a written agreement outlining the terms of their resolution. Parties can sign the agreement at the attorney’s office or consider their options further.
Mediation is a flexible process tailored to the needs of the parties. You can schedule sessions at a convenient time and place for all involved. They can also be conducted in person, online, or over the phone.
The duration of a mediation session can vary, depending on the complexity of the issues involved. Some sessions may last a few hours, while others may take several days. The mediator will work with the parties to determine an appropriate amount of time for their session.
Overall, mediation is a powerful tool to help parties exchange information and resolve their disputes beneficially. By working with a trained mediator, co-owners of a joint property can find creative solutions that address their conflict’s legal and personal aspects.
If a dispute arises between joint property heirs, a real estate attorney can help mediate the problem by laying out the possible options and consequences for the possible choices.
The mediation attorney is an uninterested third party who can evaluate Texas law and how it applies to your situation. They discuss all aspects of your dispute and propose potential solutions. Real estate mediation is confidential and not binding on anyone -however, everyone involved can clearly understand their options for the joint property under Texas Law.
When parties reach an agreement after a long family battle, it can help all involved feel like they have achieved a successful resolution.
Our Experienced Real Estate Mediation Attorneys Can Help
Our experienced real estate lawyers at Jarrett Law Firm can help you reach a resolution and protect your personal interests and rights as an heir. We work with all parties to develop the best solution possible while protecting relationships between family members.
We understand how stressful it can be when multiple people jointly own property; that’s why we’re committed to providing professional, capable, and empathetic legal service for all your real estate mediation needs.
If you need assistance with a real estate dispute between joint heirs, contact us at (832) 831-0833. Our team of legal professionals is here to guide you through this challenging process and help reach a satisfactory resolution for everyone involved.