Why You Shouldn’t Force Your Brother To Sell An Inherited House

You Shouldn't Force Your Brother To Sell An Inherited House.

You don’t have to recently have read Charles Dickens to recognize that families can be fraught. Regrettably, that’s especially true after you lose a loved one. It’s understandable, too, because the loss acts as a catalyst for many different feelings.

That said, you shouldn’t force your brother to sell an inherited house. It can be tempting, and there are many reasons people consider it. But the process causes acrimony and is more complex than you think.

Can I Force My Brother to Selling Inherited House

Knowing what to do with an inherited property is tricky, especially if not all the family members agree on how to proceed.

In theory, the answer to ‘Can I force my brother to sell an inherited house’ is yes. But it’s not your only option. It’s not even your best option.

Get a Valuation

Before you contemplate selling an inherited home, you should start by having a valuation. Even if neither you nor your sibling wants to sell the inherited home, it’s worth doing this so that you clearly understand the property value.

That way, if you decide to accept, for instance, cash home buyers in NY, you will know if the offer you get is reasonable.

And it’s tempting. Probate is notorious for taking a long time to clear, and selling a house fast in Long Island can be an effective way to recoup some of the expenses you have to deal with.  

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Force a Sibling to Sell an Inherited House

That said, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t force a sibling to sell an inherited house.

You May Not Be Co-Owners

Ideally, your parents leave all their children an equal share of the house. But that requires them to have had the foresight to leave a will making their children co-owners, and not everyone is that organized.

Trying to force your brother to sell a house causes strife between family members and might reveal one child has more claim to the property over another.

Not only would that cause further aggravation, but it might require you to buy out another sibling before going ahead with the sale. If you want to force the sale and accept an offer from someone or anywhere else, that’s not practical.

You May Not Get Market Value

Another reason you shouldn’t force your brother to sell an inherited house is because you may not get the market value.

A family home often ages badly because it’s perpetually exposed to the wear and tear of daily life. You may not want the house as a physical reminder of your lost loved one, but the reality is that to sell it for anything approximating its value, it may require significant repairs.

These may include things like:

  • Reroofing
  • Installing new appliances
  • Fixing grouting

A rushed or forced sale could put you more out of pocket than you were before you tried to sell your family home.

Forcing a Sale of an Inherited House Can Get Sticky

But you shouldn’t force your brother to sell an inherited house because it can get sticky quickly.

If you can’t agree on how to manage the property, you soon find yourselves embroiled in an ownership dispute. Depending on how much it escalates, you may find the only way to settle the disagreement is in court.

Typically, when disputes over inherited property go to court, you end up in something called a partition lawsuit. Partition action takes the decision out of your hands. Instead, you receive a legal ruling on whether the house should be sold and determine each sibling’s share of the sales profit.

Partition lawsuits can be complicated and require legal advice, so you spend money to earn more. You also have to consider that the judge may not take your side. If no one can agree, they might rule that instead of a forced sale, you buy out your sibling’s share of the property.

That leaves you free to sell the house, but only after incurring significant expenses.

Legal consequences of forcing your brother to sell an inherited house.

Legal Implications Of Forcing the Sale of an Inherited House

The other thing to consider when forcing the sale of your deceased parents’ home is the legal implications.


Before you try to force your brother to sell an inherited house, it’s worth establishing if you can sell it with the estate in probate. For that, you need legal advice since the answer varies depending on where you live.

For instance, among other things to know about probate in NY, you can’t take anything out of the property until a lawyer clears the estate. So by rushing to accept a cash offer, you may end up parting with things you are more sentimentally invested in.

But there are also documents needed to sell a house in probate. The layperson won’t know what those are unless they grew up adjacent to a lawyer, so even if you want to accept a cash offer, it’s worth getting legal advice before proceeding.

You Can’t Stop a Partition

Assuming you can’t come to a private arrangement with your siblings about how to handle the property, you may consider filing for partition.

What’s important to understand is that, much like trains, once partition lawsuits start, you can’t stop them until they’re over. If you change your mind midway through the proceedings, it’s too late. 

Renting Is An Option

Crucially, the partition isn’t your only option. While buyouts are possible, especially if your siblings are amenable to installment payments, they aren’t the only solution.

Another way to cope with estate management, capital gains, and inheritance taxes is to rent the property out and split the rental income evenly between the descendants.

You may need to do property repairs, but this has the advantage of recouping them quickly through the rental income and giving you and your siblings some extra income until the probate court releases the estate. Given how long that can take, some extra money can be helpful. That’s doubly true if your loved one’s surviving children have their primary residence.

Talk to a Lawyer

But before taking legal action, it’s worth talking with a lawyer. Ideally, you want one who understands probate law because they can offer alternatives to a forced sale that will tide you over until the estate comes through and the taxes are paid.

They may even be able to mediate between siblings with different ideas about how to handle their parents’ home.

It’s important to remember that as urgent as the sale of the property feels, it’s not your only option.

And if you do decide to go ahead and force a sale, you still need legal advice on how to proceed and what paperwork you need. However, if you search we buy houses New York online, you may find the best possible rates for the house around New York.

And if you think converting your parents’ home to a rental property is viable, they can advise on things like tenancy agreements.

There are lots to consider when trying to force a sale and none of it should be taken lightly.

Splitting the Profits of an Inherited House

However, if you decide to handle your parents’ home, it’s important that ultimately you ensure that you are splitting the profits equally between siblings.

There are exceptions to this. If for instance, you agree to a buyout, then you may divvy up the monetary shares in the property slightly differently.

The sale of an inherited property doesn’t have to be a last resort. But a forced sale should be. You may not want to maintain the house, but you do want to maintain relationships between family members.

Forcing a quick cash buyout to avoid real estate agents and their expenses has the potential to jeopardize those relationships.

So, take the time to sit down to a family meeting and ensure everyone is clear about what they want to do with the property. If those things are too disparate, a vacation home versus a rental property versus a sale, for instance, you may need to resort to partition.


There are many understandable reasons for wanting to sell your inherited property. For one thing, it triggers a capital gains tax the minute it gets transferred into your and your siblings’ names.

For another, the upkeep can be extortionate, especially on an old property. Even as a vacation home, it may not be worth the cost of maintaining it.

That said, houses hold tremendous sentimental value, especially if one of the siblings has been living in the newly inherited property. In that scenario, it’s rarely worth forcing your brother to sell the inherited house.

You are better off coming to a private arrangement. It buys you time to process things like inheritance tax and to decide what to do with the house.

If you do decide to sell quickly, places like Leave The Key Homebuyers can help. The important thing is that you undertake the sale of the property the same way you would its ownership. Jointly. It’s what your deceased parents would want.

Can I Force My Brother To Sell Our Inherited House?