Articles Tagged with Partition Law

underwood-partition-actions-personal-representative-300x300Often times, a person’s estate includes property. While property disputes between co-owners are complicated enough, a property dispute including the estate of a deceased person adds an entirely different layer of complexity to the situation. In these instances, there are special laws that apply to help to clarify the process.  

This article will discuss who may bring a partition action on behalf of a deceased person, and address some of the complexities of that process. These complexities arise because of something known as “venue,” or the specific rules relating to the right place or forum to resolve the dispute. In other words, a debate about where to have the debate. Hopefully, this article will clarify that process to simplify what is already an emotionally difficult situation. 

Who can sue on behalf of a deceased person

underwood-law-com-recognizes-partition-firm-300x300Underwood Law Firm is a finalist for the California Legal Awards’ Vanguard Award.

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underwood-partition-real-property-guide-part-4-300x300This is a continuation of our ongoing series on the Complete Guide to the Partition of Real Property Act. For complete comprehension, we would suggest starting from the beginning. 

As a quick summary, the Partition of Real Property Act is a law specific to California, passed in July 2022. (Stats 2022 Ch. 82 § 3 (AB 2245).) It brought significant changes to how partitions are conducted in the state, if the underlying parties are tenants in common. But even though the act is particular to California, it is actually derived from the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (“UPHPA”). 

Because of the similarity between the laws, and in order to deliver the most comprehensive understanding of the Partition of Real Property Act, this guide references law review notes, statutes, and appellate decisions from other states interpreting the UPHPA. 

underwood-partition-real-property-guide-part-3-300x300How does the court appraise the property (CCP § 874.316)?

As was noted previously, the court shall order an appraisal of the property once it determines that the parties are entitled to partition. (CCP § 874.316.) But how does that appraisal process work?

Once the court orders the appraisal, it needs to appoint a disinterested and licensed appraiser to value the property as if only one person owned it. This is because properties with multiple ownership interests typically sell for less. Once the appraisal is complete, the appraiser must file it with the court. After this is done, the court must conduct a hearing to determine the property’s fair market value 30 days after notice of the appraisal is sent to each party. (CCP § 874.316 (f).) 

underwood-partition-real-property-guide-part-1-300x300It’s rare that a new law comes along that turns an entire established legal practice on its head. Yet that’s precisely what California’s Partition of Real Property Act intends to do. Revised in 1976, California’s partition laws remained unchanged and untouched for almost fifty years. 

In 2021 and 2022, however, the California Legislature passed the Partition of Heirs Property Act, then revised it into the California Partition of Real Property Act. The new statutes in this bill provide a new procedural process for how partitions are conducted in the state, provided the subject property qualifies for its provisions. 

While the passage of a new law within a particular legal field is always exciting, it also has its downsides. The Partition of Real Property Act is currently in effect and will continue to apply to specific partition actions filed from this point forward. However, because the law only became active in January of 2023, appellate courts have yet to take a crack at its provisions to aid attorneys and litigants in how they should be interpreted. 

underwood-does-partition-count-bankruptcy-claim-300x300Yes, it can. Partitions and bankruptcy can interact in unusual ways despite the fact that they can often seek the same thing: the sale of a piece of property. 

Nonetheless, a co-owner of property filing for bankruptcy either before or during a partition lawsuit immediately raises several issues for the other innocent co-owners. For example, they’ll need to decide whether they can file a bankruptcy claim, and they’ll also need to figure out whether their partition action is subject to the automatic stay provisions of bankruptcy.

As such, in these situations, the right representation can make all the difference. At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys know the ins and outs of partition actions, and are ready to handle the accompanying litigation that’s sure to result, even in bankruptcy courts. 

underwood-responsible-bidder-partition-300x300Under the Partition Law, “[a] bidder is responsible if it can perform the contract as promised.” (PCC § 20162; Valley Crest Landscape, Inc. v. City Council (1996) 41 Cal.App.4th 1432, 1438.) That means, in essence, that it can be determined from the face of the bid itself that it will be viable, without outside investigation or information. (Taylor Bus Service, Inc. v. San Diego Bd. Of Education (1987) 195 Cal.App.3d 1331, 1342.) 

The concept of the “responsible bidder” comes up at the end of partition cases when the court is deciding whether the confirm or vacate the partition sale. Essentially, the law provides that if a “responsible bidder” makes a viable bid above the sales price, then the court may vacate the sale and either sell the property to the bidder, or start a new round of marketing the property. 

For parties who were looking forward to a sale, this can be devastating news if the court chooses to send the house back to the market. As such, having the right attorney by your side can make all the difference. At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are well versed enough in the practice and procedure of partition actions to help you get the answers and relief you need

underwood-liability-of-partition-referee-300x300Generally, when a trial court orders an interlocutory judgment directing a partition by sale, it can appoint a referee to conduct the sale (CCP § 873.010). However, when a party to the partition feels that they have been aggrieved by the actions of this court-appointed referee, they may bring an action against them.

When this occurs, the party may contend that the referee violated some fiduciary duties or committed some torts while performing the role appointed to them by the court. However, when a role is appointed by a court, the person holding that role may be entitled to what is known as quasi-judicial immunity. 

What is Quasi-Judicial Immunity?

underwood-ccp-joinder-property-300x300The California Partition Law begins at Code of Civil Procedure section 872.010 and ends at Code of Civil Procedure section 874.323. Section 872.240 allows for personal property to be partitioned with real property. The purpose of Section 872.240 is to give parties an avenue to partition their personal property alongside their real property if they want to. 

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.240 states

Real and personal property may be partitioned in one action.

underwood-ccp-partition-complaint-300x300The California Partition Law begins at Code of Civil Procedure section 872.010 and ends at Code of Civil Procedure section 874.323. Section 872.230 outlines the necessary information a plaintiff must have in their complaint. The point of the statute is for plaintiffs to file a proper complaint with all of the content required to initiate a partition lawsuit. If the party files an improper complaint, the court could dismiss the case at the outset. 

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.230 states

The complaint shall set forth:

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