A Common Example of Need for a Partition Referee in California

A partition referee carries out a specific role in the context of a legal dispute between multiple individuals regarding real property.  One or more parties will file a lawsuit that includes a partition cause of action.  One aspect of the relief sought via the partition cause of action will be the appointment of a partition referee by the court.  The party may nominate one or more particular partition referees, but ultimately, it is the court's decision as to who the court will appoint as the partition referee.  The partition referee almost always has one single objective: sell the subject property at issue in the lawsuit and distribute the proceeds accordingly.  A related task may be to manage and preserve the property while preparing for the sale, depending on the type of property.

A common example where a partition referee is sought comes up when adult siblings inherit a piece of property from deceased parents.  As is often the case when multiple individuals own portions of one single property, people can disagree based on their own goals, ideas and life circumstances.  These complications are ripe when the individuals did not particularly seek out a joint ownership arrangement--as is often the case with sibling inheritance.  One sibling may want to hold onto the property for decades to allow for appreciation.  This is typically the position of an individual who is financially secure.  Another sibling may seek a quick sale of a jointly-owned property.  This could be the position of someone who is struggling financially, or alternatively, someone who believes the sibling group is not well-suited to manage the property (possibly remotely) for an extended period of time.  Yet another sibling may simply be out of contact with the other two siblings and be completed removed from the process.

In the example above, typically one sibling will seek the advice of a real estate attorney and that attorney may counsel the sibling (or siblings) on the option of filing a partition action, seeking the appointment of a partition referee.  The partition referee steps in after it becomes clear the siblings are at a "log-jam" and is appointed by the court.

Richardson "Red" Griswold of Griswold Law, APC is commonly appointed as a partition referee in California courts.  If you have questions about partition actions or the use of a partition referee, please contact Griswold Law Receiverships.

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