In Morris County and all of New Jersey, real property that is owned jointly (also known as joint property ownership) need not be probated. However, disputes often arise among beneficiaries who are entitled to a distribution of real property from a loved one’s estate. The best way to resolve these disputes is to work with an experienced probate lawyer.
At E.A. Goodman Law, LLC, we regularly advise clients about probate and estate administration proceedings. We know that administering an estate can be complicated when disputes arise over the distribution of joint property, such as a family home. While disputes involving joint property ownership and probate can often be resolved through negotiations, we have the skills and experience to litigate partition actions.
Our experienced probate attorney represents executors, trust administrators, and beneficiaries and works to ensure their interests are protected. Once you become our client, you will have comfort knowing that you will receive compassionate, efficient representation and dependable service. Contact our Morristown office today to get started.
Morris County Probate Attorney Representing Clients in Partition Actions for Joint Property Ownership
Under New Jersey Law, more than one person is allowed to own property. Co-ownership of property is common when:
- Spouses jointly own a home
- Business partners purchase property
- Family members are beneficiaries of real estate in a will or trust
When it comes to probating an estate, what happens when beneficiaries disagree about what to do with the property? In some cases, it may be possible for the co-owners to sell the property and divide the proceeds according to the distribution plan specified in the will.
However, disputes can be more difficult to resolve when the beneficiaries are siblings. A sister or brother may have sentimental attachments to the family home or be overwhelmed by the process while grieving the loss of a parent. Regardless of the circumstances, when owners cannot agree about what to do with joint property, it may be necessary to pursue a partition action.
What is a partition action?
In short, a partition action is a legal proceeding in which the probate court determines how to dispose of real property when the beneficiaries cannot agree about what to do with it. The beneficiary of an undivided interest can ask the court to sell or divide the property. The court will make determinations about:
- The property value
- The sale of the property
While the court may divide undeveloped property according to each party’s ownership share, property that cannot be divided, such as a home or condo, must be sold. The proceeds will then be divided equitably based on each beneficiary’s share in the home or property. In other words, a partition action is a way to force a sale of real property.
A partition action can be brought as part of a probate proceeding provided that the case has been opened. If probate has not been opened or the case has already closed, a separate lawsuit can also be filed. Ultimately, the court oversees partition actions according to the Uniform Partition Heirs Property Act.
Types of Partition Actions for Joint Property Ownership Probate
There are two types of partition actions – partition in kind and partition by sale:
Partition in Kind
If beneficiaries have interests in land that can be easily divided, a partition in kind divides the property’s boundary lines and distributes equitable parcels to each beneficiary.
Partition by Sale
If beneficiaries cannot agree about what to do with real property such as a home or condo, a partition by sale may be necessary. The court oversees the sale of the property and the division of the proceeds. In some cases, a voluntary partition can be accomplished through the mediation process.
Why Choose Morris County Attorneys at E.A. Goodman?
We understand that the emotional burden of grieving the loss of a parent or loved one can complicate decisions about what to do with inherited property. Trust our capable probate attorney to listen to your concerns and help you make informed decisions. While we encourage our clients to work out voluntary partitions, our probate attorney is highly experienced in litigating partition actions. Rest assured, we will protect your inheritance and property rights in and out of the courtroom.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Probate Lawyers
If you have questions about Morris County joint property ownership and probate or you are involved in a dispute over property inherited through a will or trust, turn to E.A. Goodman Law, LLC. We are not only highly skilled trust, estate, and property attorneys, but compassionate people who will always work in your best interests. Contact us today for a consultation.