In 2017, our Texas legislature passed a new law titled “The Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act.” The Act can be found in the Texas Property Code.
Though fairly lengthy, the Act allows co‑owners of property to partition the property by sale if the property cannot be partitioned in kind so long as: (1) the co-owners are related, as remotely as cousins or aunts or uncles; and (2) the co-owners own 20 percent or more of the property as co‑tenants. A partition by sale results when the property cannot be divided into equal parcels. Once one of the heirs initiates action under this statute, the court becomes obligated to have a value determined either by commissioners or alternatively by an appraisal.
Within ten days of when the appraisal is completed, the court must then send notice to each party stating the appraised fair market value and that the appraisal is available for inspection. Any party to the suit may object to the appraisal within thirty days. If there is no objection to the appraisal, the court then conducts a hearing to determine the fair market value of the appraisal with notice being sent to the co‑tenants of the value placed on the property by the court.
Forty-five days after the notice is sent by the court, the Defendants in a partition by heirship (the parties who did not ask the property to be partitioned) may purchase a pro rata share of the Plaintiff’s interest in the property.
If the Defendants have not purchased the property within forty-five days, the Plaintiff may then purchase the Defendants’ shares on the same terms.
The law is quite technical in terms of the time frames and responses due, as well as the Court’s action, but all in all, this should result in an easy ability to divest yourself of property or of co-ownership with people who are your “partners” only because you inherited the property. If you have inherited real property and are interested in discussing your options, contact Yale Law for more information.