Buying property is an exciting and life-changing experience. Unfortunately, sometimes inheriting it, sharing it, or trying to sell it can be a challenge.
In South Carolina, every property owner has the right to partition - in other words, they have the right to sell their share of a co-owned property and not be a property owner anymore. The remaining owner (or owners) then have the first right to buy the share of the person who wishes to partition, and if no one wants to or is able to do so, the property must be sold to a private buyer or at public auction. Partition is a process that may take a year or more, and is litigated in front of the Master in Equity, a special judge who handles foreclosures and other property matters. It is usually preferable to reach a settlement with other property owners to allow a private sale prior to going to court, but if necessary, we are happy to represent you in the litigation to accomplish a partition.
Heirs' property is property that has been passed down a generation or more without a will, and may be split in ownership interest among many far-flung relatives. Before we look at any heirs' property cases we highly recommend that you contact the Center for Heirs' Property Preservation. They provide FREE legal services to assist families in resolving heirs' property disputes, mediate agreements to use natural resources on heirs' property to pay for upkeep.
Heirs' property cases are also heard by the Master in Equity. We recommend that if your case is not appropriate for the Center for Heirs' Property, you hire an attorney to represent you early in these cases because they are difficult to appeal. If someone sues for clear title and you do not dispute it at the time, it will be hard to correct the situation later.