Petition for Partition in North Carolina and Disagreements in Land Sales

It’s not uncommon for one piece of land to be owned by several people, and in many of these situations it’s land that was inherited by family members after the previous owner has died.

Families don’t always agree on how these situations should be handled, and situations can quickly become tense. Surprisingly, it’s usually not the direct family members that inherited the land that cause problems. Brothers and sisters get along in these situations rather well most of the time. Their spouses, on the other hand, with no sentimental or long term attachment to the property, can complicate matters.

If a 100 acre tract of land was inherited by 4 siblings, you shouldn’t be shocked to find out that there are 4 different ideas of what to do with that property. It’s not long before someone suggests dividing it into 4 equal parts, and letting everyone do what they want with their own piece. This is called a petition for partition. Well, how do you split it 4 ways equally? The obvious answer is to give each party 25 acres, but not all acres are equal in value. Road access, soil quality, elevation, and irrigation levels all effect the value. With each person given 25 acres, some will likely be getting land worth much more or much less that others. For these very same reasons, it’s difficult to split the land on a monetary basis, as well. A 60 acre tract of swamp land may have the same value as a 15 acres of rich soiled farm land, but few people are happy with that kind of split.

The best way give every one an equal cut in these types of scenarios is to keep the land whole, and sell it without splitting it at all. Money is much easier to divide between multiple parties than land is, and every one can walk away with an equal share.