Breaking Up it Hard To Do – Correctly

BreakupProperty partnerships end for a variety of reasons. Ideally, the ending is wanted and agreed upon, financially and emotionally enriching all parties. But when things go bad, stuff hits the fan. Likely circumstances are a broken relationship, a property investing business partnership that went south or siblings who shared property their parents left as part of an estate. A fourth category occurs when one partner in an amicable relationship wants to cash out and the other wants to keep the property and they don't agree on the property's value.

As The Orange County (CA) Register explains in "Splitting up property is hard to do," being level-headed, open-minded, and empathetic can really improve your odds of avoiding protracted litigation to force a sale of the property. The process is termed a partition action. If you are really interested in getting to a fair property value for all concerned, there's a formula for the situation where one party wants to purchase the other party's share and keep the property. In that case, each party chooses one appraiser, and each conducts his or her own appraisals. Then the two appraisers agree on a third appraiser to do another appraisal. The final value is an average of the two appraised values closest to each other.

Here's an example of how this works. Partner A's appraiser determines that the value is $650,000, and Partner B's appraiser values the property at $745,000. Then, the mutually-chosen appraiser conducts her appraisal and determines that the value is $690,000. The closest value to the third appraiser's estimate is by Partner A's appraiser: $650,000. The average of the two is $670,000. Party B's appraisal is thrown out. This type of methodology makes both appraisers reasonable so that their value isn't the one that's knocked out. A qualified estate planning attorney can help shepherd this process and refer you to appraisers as needed.

Reference: Orange County (CA) Register (November 7, 2015) "Splitting up property is hard to do"


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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
  • We launched the rollout of our on-demand webinar early so that new clients and our allied professionals can view the important component parts of ‘an estate plan that works’ at their convenience.  That is available on our website.
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Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.