Properties are a common asset for American families. It’s estimated that about 80 million Americans own a home, a two million increase between 2019 to 2020. It was one of the most significant increases in the past decade. A decent chunk of the population also owns other properties, such as commercial properties. However, usually, these properties aren’t owned by just one individual but rather by the entire family.
Owning properties as a family is one of the best ways to ensure someone will inherit something. However, it can also be problematic. Family members often have disagreements about what to do with the property or how to take care of it. If you find yourself in a situation where you disagree with a family member about a property, here are five ways to dispute it.
Know About Inheritance Laws
The first thing you should do is to know about your state’s inheritance laws. You need to be aware of the law so that you can determine what your rights are. There are two kinds of inheritance laws: intestate and testamentary. Intestate laws apply when a person dies without a will, and testamentary laws apply when there is a will.
In most states, the property will be distributed among the surviving spouse and children if there is no will. However, some states have different intestate laws. For example, there’s community property, which states that the property will be divided equally between the husband and wife, and elective share laws give the surviving spouse a certain percentage of the estate.
Once you know what the inheritance laws are in your state, you can determine your rights and what you’re entitled to.
Get an Appraisal
If you disagree with a family member about how much the property is worth, it’s a good idea to get an appraisal. This will help to establish a fair market value for the property. However, it’s important to note that an appraisal differs from a home inspection. An appraisal will give you an estimate of the property’s value, while a home inspection will tell you about the property’s condition.
You can get an appraisal from a certified appraiser. The cost of an appraisal will depend on the size and location of the property.
Talk it Out
If you have disagreements with a family member about what to do with the property, it’s essential to talk it out. You should try to agree with how the property will be used or cared for. You may need to consider selling the property if you cannot agree.
Selling the property is usually a last resort because it can be emotionally challenging. However, if you decide to sell the property, you should have a real estate agent list it for sale. You should also agree on a fair market value for the property and how the proceeds will be divided among the family members.
Get a Mediator
You may need a mediator if you still cannot agree on what to do with the property. A mediator is a neutral third party who will help you and the other family members resolve the disagreement. The mediator will not decide for you but will help you to reach an agreement.
You can find a mediator through your state’s bar association or mediation center. The cost of a mediator will depend on the mediator’s fees and the time required to resolve the dispute.
Get a Lawyer
If push comes to shove, you might need to find a lawyer to protect you. This is especially important if your spouse is the one you’re combatting for the property. Here are different ways a lawyer can help you with property problems.
Getting a lawyer gives you access to divorce if you’re married to someone you’re having problems with. It will end the joint property ownership and provide each spouse their share. An experienced divorce attorney might also get a lot more. So make sure to hire someone knowledgeable about the topic.
If you have children with the person you’re in a property dispute with, you’ll need to get a lawyer to help with child custody. It’s important because you want to ensure your children are cared for and have what they need.
A separation agreement is a contract between two people who are separating. This can help to resolve disagreements about the property and other issues.
Get a Court Order
If all else fails, you can go to court and get a court order. It’s usually a last resort because it’s costly and time-consuming. But if you need to, you can get a court order to sell the property or to have it divided among the family members.
These are five ways to dispute property problems with family members. It’s essential to resolve the disagreement amicably, but if you can’t, you might need to involve the law. However, ensure to exhaust all options before you do so.