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Inheritance and Property Rights/Land Inheritance Appraisal Question

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Question
Mr. Horner thanks in advance for your advice. The question is about a 160 acre tract of land in Texas that has been in my family for 4 generations. My mother died in 2010 leaving no will that I'm aware of. There are 5 siblings/beneficiaries who will receive and equal cut. My sister and I both own property that adjoins the land in question. The "front" part has highway access and connects to my property on 2 sides as  where the "back" part adjoins my sisters property. The issue is the land value. The estate agreed on a land appraiser but once he did his evaluation several siblings did not like the number. So we received a second appraisal from another individual. My sister on the day of the appraisal convinced him to divide the land on imaginary boundaries and called one part mine and one part my sisters giving them different values. Her part being considerably less than mine due to the fact it was "landlocked." Which is only the case if the fact that my sisters property, which ajoins the property in question, is ignored. To clarify, my sisters property has access and it adjoins the property in question. She believes I should pay one price she should pay another. I believe it should all be one price. I'm ready to buy my portion but not for a price any higher than what she is going to pay. That to me seems unfair. What are my options?

Answer
First off, the appraisal in my opinion should be as the property is presently configured -- one parcel.  Next, the issue of disputing co-owners;  keep in mind I'm not licensed in Texas and there may be other applicable laws here, but generally speaking, when one co-owner wants to buy another out that doesn't want to sell, you can file a complaint to partition and sell the property which usually involves the court appointing a receiver (at a price "off the top") to accomplish the sale;  although it sounds like that would apply to the whole property;  and unless the will provides otherwise you each own an undivided % of the whole, not individual pieces.

If you go the receiver route I would suggest the court allow a right of first refusal for the owners to buy the property first;  OR possibly have the receiver offer to sell the whole to whomever of you that will pay the appraised price (perhaps less credit for your share you already own).

I would suggest getting legal advice locally.  Good luck!

Lee

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LEE HORNER ESQ.

Expertise

Probate estate and trust questions regarding California and Arizona estates.

Experience

I've been practicing real estate, probate estate and trust law in California since 1985 and in Arizona since 2005. I do NOT do homework questions. I am unable to advise on questions involving the laws of other states.

Organizations
Arizona and California State Bar Associations and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Education/Credentials
Business degree from the University of New Mexico Juris Doctorate from Lincoln Law School of Sacramento, CA

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