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Anyone ever inherit land with sibs?
Old 07-25-2007, 01:30 PM   #1
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Anyone ever inherit land with sibs?

My Dad is approaching 80 and is starting to get his affairs in order. Part of his estate includes some farm land. I have 4 siblings. How do you leave land to 5 people? Can a land deed have 5 people's names on it? Is this possible? The land is 4 hours from where I live. What if someone gets hurt on the property. Who is liable? (After my father passes of course). 5 people will never agree on what to do with it (sell it, rent it to a farmer, nothing, build a house there). :confused:

Has anyone ever been in a similar situation? Any advice?

He wanted to sell it before he died to make the split easier but my sister talked him out of it. I think that would have been a good idea.
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Old 07-25-2007, 03:38 PM   #2
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I was in a similar situation but perhaps even worse.......4 brothers/sisters ended up gifting/bequeathing an income property to their children....10 cousins in all so now all needed to agree to a plan of action and all it took was one dissenter to bring everything to a screeching halt. Even siblings got mad at each other, not to mention the cousins. Fortunately no lives or limbs were lost and the property eventually sold, perhaps for a better price because the stalemate and rising properties values coincided by luck.
Not a pleasant thing tho while it lasted.

Your instincts are good.....avoid it if all possible. If it can be arranged that your sister gets it and the others get something else (if that makes an equitable split which doesn't seem likely?), that would be ok too.

Good luck!
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Old 07-25-2007, 03:52 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by FancyBear View Post
My Dad is approaching 80 and is starting to get his affairs in order. Part of his estate includes some farm land. I have 4 siblings. How do you leave land to 5 people? Can a land deed have 5 people's names on it? Is this possible? The land is 4 hours from where I live. What if someone gets hurt on the property. Who is liable? (After my father passes of course). 5 people will never agree on what to do with it (sell it, rent it to a farmer, nothing, build a house there). :confused:

Has anyone ever been in a similar situation? Any advice?

He wanted to sell it before he died to make the split easier but my sister talked him out of it. I think that would have been a good idea.
I have no experience in this area. So this is worth what you are paying for it. Isn't this usually handled by having siblings that want to sell selling to the sibs that want to hold?
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Old 07-25-2007, 04:07 PM   #4
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Old 07-25-2007, 04:13 PM   #5
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My mom cut my brother partially out of her estate by deeding the family house (yes, that is house, not home) to my sister and me. When it was time to move mom into a senior apt. at age 89, my sister, mom and I decided to sell the house. My brother’s only contribution to this momentous event was to scoff that it would never sell. Mom tried to equalize things by giving her car to bro’s daughter, her only grandchild.

A neighbor who was the only real estate agent (vulture) dealing in our neighborhood already had a buyer and it sold in less than four hours. Well, we went to sign off on the papers at the bank, and dear brother-in-law fussed about signing, thought we could wait and get a better price, then he threw a tantrum right in the bank, insisted that all the proceeds go into his and my sister’s account. I refused, the money would be evenly split just as the house was deeded. I never thought he was required to sign but anyway that was the plan, I came close to strangling him (didn’t know I had it in me!). I walked away with him still alive saying he didn’t have to sign, we could wait about selling, I didn’t care. He signed.

I have no advice except to walk away before the cops put the cuffs on you.
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Old 07-25-2007, 05:50 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by FancyBear View Post
My Dad is approaching 80 and is starting to get his affairs in order. Part of his estate includes some farm land. I have 4 siblings. How do you leave land to 5 people? Can a land deed have 5 people's names on it? Is this possible? The land is 4 hours from where I live. What if someone gets hurt on the property. Who is liable? (After my father passes of course). 5 people will never agree on what to do with it (sell it, rent it to a farmer, nothing, build a house there). :confused:

Has anyone ever been in a similar situation? Any advice?

He wanted to sell it before he died to make the split easier but my sister talked him out of it. I think that would have been a good idea.
Heck, a deed could have 500 names on it. But no one would want it to.

If you end up owning the property with your siblings, you should buy your own liability insurance coverage.

You are right about the problem of getting people to agree. Have your dad talk to an estate planner about options. A good planner will explain to him about the problems that can occur in this situation.

For example:

5 kids own land. One kid divorces. The ex wants his share or half his share of the land in the divorce.

5 kids own land. One dies. His family inherits his share. Now even more owners.

5 kids own land, one files bankruptcy. Now you own the land with a bankruptcy trustee who may try to force a quick sale.

5 kids own land. One doesn't kick in for property taxes.

Etc.

One possibility is to sell the land now. However, there may be a tax consequence to dad. Another possibility is to provide in the will that the land will be sold and proceeds be distributed to the heirs. This might be the thing to do to get a step up in basis and save some taxes.

Again, I would have dad talk to a planner. If the planner is ok with it, you could be there too for the conversation.
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Old 07-25-2007, 08:50 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by FancyBear View Post
How do you leave land to 5 people? Can a land deed have 5 people's names on it? Is this possible?
5 people will never agree on what to do with it (sell it, rent it to a farmer, nothing, build a house there). :confused:
Has anyone ever been in a similar situation? Any advice?
When my spouse's grandparents died their condo was bequeathed to the heirs. No one wanted to buy out anyone else so that meant that the eventual sale had to be agreed to by nine heirs.

The lawyer wrote nine letters, executed nine responses, wrote the final paperwork, mailed out nine more letters with copies, wrote nine checks with additional cover letters... you can imagine how the legal fees piled up.

Have the executor/executrix sell the property and distribute the proceeds to the estate. If one of the heirs wants the property then they can buy it with their share of the inheritance.
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Old 07-25-2007, 09:07 PM   #8
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When my wife's grandmother died, they discovered that they could not even give her house away because she did not even own it! It turns out that her dead husband had owned it and must've died without a will, so half his house went to his blood relatives - most of whom had died. So they had to track down the living relatives of about 8 different dead people. The value of the house+land was about -$10,000 because it was surrounded by crack houses. So divide the $10K by about 33 different people and add in $12K of lawyers fees trying to find everybody and you see what a mess you have. It took several years before the house/land was finally given to the nearby church.
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Old 07-25-2007, 09:17 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by FancyBear View Post
My Dad is approaching 80 and is starting to get his affairs in order. Part of his estate includes some farm land. I have 4 siblings. How do you leave land to 5 people? Can a land deed have 5 people's names on it? Is this possible? The land is 4 hours from where I live. What if someone gets hurt on the property. Who is liable? (After my father passes of course). 5 people will never agree on what to do with it (sell it, rent it to a farmer, nothing, build a house there). :confused:

.

Are you one of my sibs in disguise? :confused:

I have a similar issue with 4 other sibs, a big piece of land and the additional headache of a Nature Conservancy Land trust. To date, the best solution I have found is to stuff my fingers firmly in my ears, close my eyes and chant "la, la la..."
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Old 07-25-2007, 09:41 PM   #10
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I expect to be in a similar situation some day....
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:18 AM   #11
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When my wife's grandmother died, they discovered that they could not even give her house away because she did not even own it! It turns out that her dead husband had owned it and must've died without a will, so half his house went to his blood relatives - most of whom had died. So they had to track down the living relatives of about 8 different dead people. The value of the house+land was about -$10,000 because it was surrounded by crack houses. So divide the $10K by about 33 different people and add in $12K of lawyers fees trying to find everybody and you see what a mess you have. It took several years before the house/land was finally given to the nearby church.
What a nightmare! I'm sure the church appreciated it and at least it won't become another crack house, now.
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:50 AM   #12
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When my father's father died there was no will. Grandma couldn't live there alone (never learned to drive among other things). None of the four kids wanted to run a farm. Fortunately, there were no power struggles and one of the heirs had enough money to buy out all the others and rehab the house into a summer home.
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Old 07-26-2007, 10:14 AM   #13
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My situation wasn't as complicated as your but my brother and I were left commerical rental property. Having the property in a trust when my parents died help to decrease the lawyers costs in transferring the property. It was then transferred which both of our names of the deed. We have set up a partnership that spells out all rights and responsibilities and have transferred the property into there. I think our next step will be putting it in a LLC to reduce our exposure to risk.

My leasons learned. During the first 6 months it will be hard to get everyone to agree but after the reality of owning the property and all the hassle associated with it, the others will probably start looking at getting out of it.

Also, depending on your state's laws and how the deed is held, you can sell out your interest in the property and don't need the rest of the gangs authorization.
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:47 PM   #14
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This was the situation with my wife's family farm. It was divided 8 ways among the Aunts and Uncles. Her father's share was then divided among my wife and her five sibs. Needless to say, it was all handled by the CPA. She got a partnership form every year and a government subsidy check to not grow crops on it.

Then someone came along and offered to buy it. Everyone had to sign and all that good stuff.
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Old 07-26-2007, 10:02 PM   #15
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I'm in a somewhat similar situation. A few years ago, my grandmother put my name and my uncle's name on the deed to the house I live in. She had been using it as a rental property, but was getting tired of dealing with it. It's set up as a Joint Tenancy with right of survivorship, I think that's the terminology. Right now, my grandmother, uncle, and me are all 1/3 owners. When someone dies, the two remaining people become 50/50 owners, and when the next person dies, the sole surivor gets it all.

As for the title, it has all three of our names on it, but on some documentation, I've noticed that if you have more than two names, instead of listing them all, it'll just list the first two names and then "Et Al" which I guess means "and all others" or something like that.

I have homeowner's insurance on the place, in my name only. So if someone gets hurt, the insurance company pays, but if they try to sue for too much, I'd imagine they could come after me, my uncle, and my grandmother. I took out an HELOC on the place, and while the HELOC is in my name only, my grandmother did have to go with me, to verify that she knew what I was doing. My uncle couldn't make it, so we had to get a paper signed by a notary stating that he knew what I was doing.

But now, when I had a garage built in 2005, and went down to get the permit, I was the only one who had to sign. But the permit did have all three of our names on it.

When my grandmother passes away, the house she lives in is set to be divided up 40/40/20, among my mother, uncle, and me. We had offered to put my Mom's name on the title to my place as well so she doesn't get cheated out of her inheritance, but she declined. I have no idea what's going to happen to grandma's place when she passes away. I could see my uncle wanting to stay there, as he lives there now, but I could also see my Mom wanting to sell to get rid of the hassle of keeping it, and getting her money out of it.
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Old 07-27-2007, 07:45 AM   #16
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Oh boy, this thread just gives me the shivers.

My parents' home was willed to my brother and me. Two years and counting and we STILL have not completed the separation of the property. I knew going in that wives might be an issue, and I was right. The real estate is the big thing, but the "stuff" in the house, which optimistically might be worth $20K, has delayed the resolution of the estate. It looks like whoever can obfuscate the longest wins, all the while the effort requires one to remain civil with family members, the only ones you have. Brother wants the house, and I just want a fair price. My wifes argues I'm giving it away, his wife argues he's offered too much. Hum, sounds like price may be about right. (Watch out for the spouse effect.) Now if we can just get the family "treasures" equitably divided sometime in the next 3 or 4 years. I inventoried everything in the house and assigned a fair value. Then we each selected what we want. The conflict items that we both want (flip a coin, or alternate slection?) is the problem to deal with next. The other problem is, since brother wants the house, furnishings are needed...never mind. I just can't imagine how difficult this would be with four or five siblings.
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Old 07-28-2007, 12:54 AM   #17
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If the land owning elderly gentleman would simply gift the land to the floozy he's been seeing at the pub from time to time, this silliness of multiple heirs to a single property would be eliminated and the family would have something to gossip about for all times!
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Old 07-28-2007, 11:08 AM   #18
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A big mistake made often in California is for siblings to inherit property in equal shares when it is anticipated that one child will want the family home or business property. If the property was sold to that sibling from the estate then reassessment could be excluded under Prop 58 (parent/child transfer). If each sibling has to transfer their share to the purchasing sibling then each percentage is assessed at market value. This can change the yearly property taxes from a $500 yearly range to tens of thousands of dollars a year on a relatively modest property.
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Old 08-01-2007, 04:47 AM   #19
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With 3 other family members we interited a lot of family jewelry (some genuine, some not). None of us is an expert.
We decided not to have it apraised by an expert to avoid cost.
Instead we put it all on the table and then each of us could take one piece at a time. We diced out who was going to start and then went on till everything was taken.
So each of us could only decide on basis of "what do I like" and not on "what is it worth".
Lateron we exchanged some pieces among us.
This worked pretty well, amicably and friendly.

The romans used the rule "one splits, the other picks" to split property. One party had the task to split the property into two lots he believed to be of equal value. Then the other party could pick one of the lots for himself. So the first party knew that he would hurt himself by unfair distribution and was motivated to put "valuable" pieces into each lot.
In a modified version this works also for more than 2 persons.
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Old 08-02-2007, 04:30 PM   #20
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My father, his sister, and his cousins(2), inherited an orange grove many years ago in Israel. My father and his sister live in the US, but his cousins live in Israel near the orchard. Fortunately for them, nobody felt like dealing with it since they all had jobs they couldn't walk away from. They all agreed to sell it. I have no idea what might have happened if they didn't agree, probably wouldn't have been pleasant.
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