Often when it comes to probate, the most important asset is the old family home. It may be the home you grew up in, and it is sometimes likely that the children may not want to see that home sold. However, often that is a likely result of probate if the beneficiaries of an estate cannot come to an agreement on how to split the home.
In these cases, often the courts will demand that the house is sold and the proceeds split among the eligible beneficiaries. If a beneficiary wanted to prevent this, often they will need to give up other items of the estate or even buy out the other beneficiaries to maintain ownership of the house. However, there is one other option – partitioning.
Typically when the courts talk of partitioning, they are talking of partitioning lands. For example, if a farmer dies with 200 acres of land, if partitioned between two beneficiaries, they will each receive 100 acres to sell, farm, or build on as they please. However, if beneficiaries agree to partitioning of a family home, that means they would both retain ownership of it. This, instead, lets them work out what they want to do with the house. In truth, they could both live there if they want to. It can also be agreed that one lives there and pays a certain amount of rent to another. This can often be a preferable option if one side doesn’t want to sell the home, but doesn’t really have the assets they can give in trade.
However, this is an agreement that needs to be worked out between the beneficiaries outside of court and may need to be approved by the judge.