Perhaps, as a child, you always spent time at a family-owned cabin in the Catskills during the summer, or in retirement, your parents bought a condo in Florida. Now that your parents have passed away, they left their vacation home for you and your siblings to share and make your own family memories.

But sharing ownership of a property between siblings isn’t easy. If you aren’t careful, before you even get to enjoy that getaway home, you could end up in an ownership dispute. A disgruntled sibling may even contest your parent’s will if this split property ownership is something your parent recently added to their will.

A dispute over inherited property often leaves siblings with these options:

  1. Drafting a formal partnership agreement to settle how often you each will get to use the home and what the rules are for having guests at the property. This agreement also should lay out how you will share maintenance and upkeep costs.
  2. Deciding on a buyout plan. Perhaps, one sibling has more of an attachment to this vacation home than the others or one lives closer by and likely will use it more. You may want to develop a buyout plan, enabling that sibling to buy out the others in their share of the property.
  3. Selling the property and splitting the assets or renting the property and splitting the assets.

You also could look for properties nearby, perhaps in the same complex if it’s a beach property, so that each sibling could own their own place eventually.

No matter what, you’ll have to keep the communication lines open about the inherited property, sharing what the maintenance and upkeep costs are or if there’s been any property damage after a guest or renter visited. You want to avoid a sibling property inheritance dispute becoming a costly legal battle if you can. You may need to work with an experienced estate administration attorney to do that.