How to buy out a sibling on shared property?
Approximately 16 years ago I inherited a house with my 3 siblings. At the time my brother lived there alone so I moved in and I bought out 1 the share of one my sisters. I now own 1/2 the house and my brother and other sister own 1/4 each. My brother refuses to work and pay bills, he has liens on the house from creditors, and has even refused to pay house taxes. In the last 2 years I have had to pay his share so as not to loose the house. Can I force him out as I own the majority and how are his liens going to affect me and the house?
In a situation such as the there is a legal remedy called "partition". This means the division of property among co-owners' real property held by co-owners as a tenancy in common or a joint tenancy may be partitioned.
If a property can be physically divided the Court will instruct that it in fact be divided (as with undevelpoed land). However, here division would be impracticable since we are dealing with a single family house. In this case, the court will order a sale instead of partition and an equitable division of the proceeds among the co-owners. Before it would be ordered, however, the court would permit one co-owner to purchase the interest of the remaining co-owner at fair market value.