Can siblings force the sale of inherited property?
Losing a loved one can be a difficult time, made even tougher by conflicting sibling opinions around the outcome of the deceased’s estate. Do you sell? Keep it between you? Or perhaps one of you wants to buy the other out of their shares.
We’ve gone through the inheritance process, and explained each scenario and the potential routes you can take to achieve an amicable outcome.
What happens when you inherit a home?
When you inherit the estate of a deceased friend or family member, you are required to work alongside all the beneficiaries to come to a fair outcome, according to the will. This usually involves a designated executor taking the process into their own hands. If property is involved, and you and your siblings are each listed as beneficiaries, there are a few of avenues you can take:
- You can agree that one (or more) of you buys out the other(s), so that the property is solely in their name(s).
- You can agree to sell the property, and split the money between you.
- You can choose to share ownership of the property as either joint tenants or tenants in common.
It’s not always easy to come to an agreement on how to handle an inherited property, however; if you and your siblings lead different lives, you may have contrasting ideas. To guide you through the process, we’ve explored how you might go about negotiating each of the three possibilities on offer.
How to buy out my siblings in an inherited home in the UK
Inheriting property with siblings can be complicated, if each of you has different intentions for what to do with it. For instance, one of you may want to live in the house, while one of you might want to sell it.
In any case, while one of you may be named the executor of the will, any final decision must be agreed upon by all parties and it’s impossible to force through any outcome without offering a clear argument backing up your case.
Buying out a sibling’s share of an inherited house
It’s not uncommon for one sibling to want to keep an inherited property while another prefers to sell. In such an instance, the first sibling might choose to approach the second sibling (and any additional siblings) to buy out their shares.
If this is the agreed upon decision, you will need to ensure all the required documentation is submitted to the land registry. Here, you should include the signatures of all the agreeing parties, and all relevant grant of probate documentation.
Can siblings force the sale of inherited property?
While it’s always preferable to come to an amicable sibling agreement, there’s a possibility that this doesn’t happen. For instance, you, or another of your siblings, might feel strongly that selling the property is the most beneficial outcome, rather than keep it within the family.
If the sibling in favour of selling is not willing to simply sell their shares to you, and would rather find a new buyer entirely, they are within their rights to take you and any other remaining siblings to court. In the case of a dispute, they are obliged to make their case and provide strong and irrefutable evidence that selling is the best option.
Sharing ownership of an inherited home
No matter how many siblings you’re sharing the inheritance with, if you all agree, you can choose to share ownership of the property. This allows you to each enjoy reasonable usage between you, or even opt to rent it out.
What is a joint tenancy agreement?
if you and your siblings are each joint tenants of a property, you all own an equal share of the house. Importantly:
- If one of your dies, the inherited share will pass directly to the surviving sibling.
- If you later decide you’d like to sell the house, you’re obliged to get the written consent of all joint tenants.
What are tenants in common?
If you agree to share the house as tenants in common, you will each own a portion of the property. However, unlike a joint tenancy:
- Your shares may not be equally split.
- If one of you dies, the shares don’t automatically pass to the surviving sibling(s). Instead, they become a part of the deceased’s estate, to be distributed according to their will.
- If you later choose to sell the property, the value is split according to percentage ownership
Renting out an inherited property
Rather than choosing to either enjoy the property yourselves, perhaps as a second home, you can agree to rent the property and split the income.
This could be the most profitable course of action, and provide you and your siblings with a steady stream of additional money. Also, it’s worth acknowledging that this doesn’t rule out selling the property at a later date.
Selling an inherited property with siblings
If you and your siblings come to an agreement that selling your inherited property is the best course of action, it’s important to consider all avenues open to you: selling through an estate agent or to a property purchasing company.
While it’s true that selling your property through an estate agent can help you to receive a slightly higher value, the process can be long and doesn’t guarantee success; you might be sitting on your property for a year or longer. Additionally, you’ll likely incur estate agent fees of around 2% of the sale value.
Property purchasing company
Selling to a property purchasing company, such as Good Move, guarantees a quick house sale. This can prove beneficial when selling an inherited property that can quickly become a frustrating responsibility if left unsold for a while.
Hopefully, we’ve offered some clarity around the common question ‘can siblings force the sale of inherited property?’, as well as any other burning concerns you may have over a relative’s estate. For even more guidance, head on over to our blog.