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Options for dividing real estate between siblings

Real estate holdings can be complicated assets to divide evenly, especially when a single home is willed to several heirs. Before allowing a piece of property to become a point of contention between siblings, familiarizing yourself with some of the standard remedies for this scenario may save you and your family a great deal of time, money and lost affection.

The simplest thing to do is always to put the piece of property in question on the real estate market and then split the proceeds from the sale equally. It is generally inadvisable to allow this kind of sale to be an undervalued "sweetheart" deal between family members or friends. To keep things equitable, the estate should pay any remaining property taxes and maintenance costs before the sale.

Sometimes, however, one sibling or another may feel that they want to keep the home. In situations like this, consider a possible sibling buyout. This entails the interested sibling purchasing the home from the other vested siblings by paying them their portion of the value of the home to become the sole owner of the property. If the sibling is unable to provide cash to buy the other siblings' share, other family property may be used to substitute the value.

In some cases, siblings may decide to hold the property jointly and all share its use. Whether it is a primary residence or a vacation home, sharing ownership can have the advantage of reducing any one sibling's burden for the expenses of homeownership. Such a property could also be held jointly by siblings and used as a rental property, with the rental proceeds being split evenly between siblings

Real estate issues can be some of the most contentious when it comes to dividing property between siblings. Many of these relationship-straining issues can be settled more easily and fairly with the help of an impartial, experienced family law attorney.

Source: bankrate.com, "How to Split Up the Family Home," Jay MacDonald, accessed July 15, 2016

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