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Frequently Asked Questions: Real Estate Law

What is a petition to partition real estate?

When multiple owners of real estate, subject to some limitations as noted below, cannot agree to sell their real estate, or to physically divide a parcel of real estate that is capable of being physically divided, then one or all of the owners of the property can bring a petition through the court (typically in either the Probate Court or the Land Court), pursuant to G.L. c. 241.  The petitioning party requests that the court order that the real estate be sold, or that it be physically divided, if the real estate is capable of being physically divided.  Such a proceeding as described above is known as a partition action.

Certain types of real estate ownership or owners are not subject to having a petition to partition commenced against them, such as a husband or wife owning property as tenants by the entirety and such as real estate held in certain types of trusts.

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