Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act

Policy Type Policy
Policy Jurisdiction State — Multiple States
Status Passed
Tags Land Justice

Policy Summary

The Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA) helps preserve family wealth passed to the next generation through property inheritance.

Before its enactment, a disproportionate number of middle to low-income families involuntarily were forced to sell their inheritance property at prices below market value after the property owner passed away.

In 2007, the American Bar Association worked with diverse stakeholders, including elected officials, public interest and civil rights organizations, the Uniform Law Commission, and community organizers, to respond to the needs of poor and disadvantaged property owners to help preserve generational wealth. Since enacted in 2010, UPHPA has passed in 20 states and the Virgin Islands. It is undergoing review in seven states and the District of Columbia.

Middle and lower-income landowners are less likely to have an estate plan in place for their heirs. UPHPA protects the collective rights of heirs in these instances.

Suppose one descendant wanted to sell their portion of the inheritance, and the others did not. In that case, they could sell their part without consent to a real estate speculator. That party could then file a partition action and force a sale below market value to acquire the entire property, depleting the family’s wealth in the process. UPHPA helps solve the problem while preserving an heir’s right to sell their share of the property. Through UPHPA, the court supervises a commercially reasonable sale ensuring all parties receive their fair share of the proceeds.

Summary developed with resources from the American Bar Association and the Uniform Law Commission

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