Partition of Heirs Property


Washington & Williams v. Johnson, [Ms. SC-2023-0464, Apr. 19, 2024] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2024). The Court (Shaw, J.; Parker, C.J., and Bryan, Mendheim, and Mitchell, JJ., concur) reverses the Baldwin Circuit Court’s judgment in an action based on the Alabama Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (“the Heirs Act”), § 35-6A-1 et seq., Ala. Code 1975. The trial court concluded after a bench trial that the property could be equitably partitioned in kind but did not order that it be partitioned.

The Court affirms the ore tenus finding that the property could be partitioned in kind and further holds “[i]f heirs property cannot be partitioned in kind, then a partition by sale must be ordered pursuant to §35-6A-10, Ala. Code 1975.’ 346 So. 2d at 520. Applying the mandatory provisions of §35-6A-8(a), the converse is also true…. [A] trial court, having concluded that a sale was not warranted because a means of equitable partition in kind exists, may not simply take no further action and, in effect, deprive a cotenant of the legal right to seek partition.” Ms. *24.

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