Can Siblings Force the Sale of Inherited Property in Massachusetts?

Can Siblings Force the Sale of Inherited Property in Massachusetts?

If you and your siblings have found yourselves suddenly in possession of an inherited property, there are several decisions you will have to make together. Whether you wanted this property or not, you will need to decide how to move forward. Will you keep the property or sell? How will you do so? What if you are not all on the same page? This complicates an already messy matter even further.

In this article, we will explore the process of inheriting properties in the state of Massachusetts and whether you can be forced to sell by a sibling.

The simple answer: Yes, siblings can be forced to sell their home in the State of Massachusetts.

Under Massachusetts state law, co-owners cannot be forced to remain co-owners. Even if the majority of the heirs want to keep the property, they can be forced to sell even if only one heir decides to do so. 


If there are disputes over who has the authority to sell, the property may need to go through probate. Probate is the legal process in which all persons with a claim to the deceased’s property and other assets come before a judge to make their case. You will need to hire a probate attorney and comply with their requests.

During this process, the court will also settle the deceased’s unpaid taxes and other debts before determining what remains of the inheritance. In Massachusetts, this process typically takes around a year.

For more information about the process of probate, be sure to check out our other articles!

What Are the Options if You or Your Sibling Wants to Sell?

Once it has been determined who has the authority to make decisions for the inherited property, the heir that moves to sell has two options: negotiating with the other siblings or partition action (lawsuit.) Most people would rather skip the hassle, and the cost, of a lawsuit, but sometimes the threat of one can serve as a vehicle of persuasion if negotiating isn’t leading to any productive solution.


Before you get swept up in the drama and costs of a lawsuit, you most likely will try your hand at negotiating with your siblings. You may consider buying out the sibling(s) that want to sell the home rather than keep it. There can be a few options here:

  • Buy-out: Here, you pay the sibling(s) what would be their portion of the property if sold. This may involve taking a mortgage out on the property to access the funds you need to do so.
  • Buy-out and sell: After buying out your siblings, you can get the property market ready to sell. This process may involve repairs and additional costs, especially if you hire a real estate agent to sell the property on your behalf.

Partition Action / Lawsuit

If negotiating has led nowhere and one of the siblings has filed a partition: buckle up. This process is extremely time-consuming and costly. Apart from the time and money you will spend, a legal lawsuit will most likely have a damaging effect on family dynamics. It is best to avoid this route.

If you follow through with the lawsuit, it will be up to the Massachusetts court system to decide what to do with the property. They could determine that one of the siblings needs to buy out the others. Or the courts could decide that there is no resolution and that the home needs to be sold and proceeds split evenly between all heirs.

Listing the Property for Sale on the Market

If you take the traditional route, you will be hiring a real estate agent to help you get the house sold. In this case, you may need to spend time making repairs and fixing up the property to get it ready for the market. There will be showings, open houses, offers, negotiations, and when you finally get a contract secured, you are headed for the closing process.

If your buyers are working with a lender, you will be at the mercy of their contingencies. This means if somehow the financing falls through, there is a delay in the lender’s underwriting process, a problem with the appraisal, or any other issue that comes up along the way, you and your siblings will be subject to those headaches. Not to mention you will be paying on average 6% in realtor commissions and with closing costs tacked on top.

Sell to a Professional Cash Home Buyer

A second option for selling your home that does not involve realtor commissions or a complicated closing process is selling to a professional home buyer. These are companies that specialize in buying homes, typically in cash. They are experienced in buying directly from homeowners and know how to navigate the process effectively.

We Will Buy Your House in Any Condition, Fast!

At Pavel Buys Houses, we are a team of professional Massachusetts cash home buyers dedicated to providing top-notch service to the homeowners we work with. As a local, family-run business, we understand the complications and stress surrounding selling an inherited home. That is why we make the process as quick and painless as possible so you can get what you need and move on with your lives.

Our 100% hassle free CASH offers are always fair and based on a market analysis of similar homes in the area. We want to empower you to make the best decision for your family, so there are no obligations. With us, there are no realtor fees, no cleanouts, and no repairs. We buy your home “as-is” to make it easier for you.

We would love to speak with you. Contact us today, and we can discuss buying your house for cash fast and create a custom solution best suited for your situation.

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