Probate, trust, guardianship and inheritance litigation
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Partition In California Probate

By Andrew Gold, Esq.

Partition in California is an action used to divide property among its owners.  Partition actions often arise in the context of a California probate, where beneficiaries inherit interests in a decedent’s property, but do not want to continue to own the property together, and cannot agree among themselves how to divide up their interests.

When Can Property Be Partitioned In California Probate?

Section 11950 states that:

(a) If two or more beneficiaries are entitled to the distribution of undivided interests in property and have not agreed among themselves to a partition, allotment, or other division of the property, any of them, or the personal representative at the request of any of them, may petition the court to make a partition, allotment, or other division of the property that will be equitable and will avoid the distribution of undivided interests.

(b) A proceeding under this chapter is limited to interests in the property that are subject to administration and does not include other interests except to the extent the owners of other interests in the property consent to be bound by the partition, allotment, or other division.

Therefore, upon petition of a beneficiary owner or personal representative, the California probate court can order that partition of the property occur.

When Can a Petition For Partition Be Filed In California Probate?

A California probate court can only order partition of property that is under administration in the probate court.  This makes sense because the probate court has no jurisdiction over property that is not part of the probate estate.

A partition petition can be filed at any time before a final order is entered distributing the property. See California Probate Code section 11951.

What Is Required To Be Included in The Partition Petition?

The requirements for a partition petition in California probate are simple.  Pursuant to section 11951, the petition must:

  1. Describe the property
  2. State the names of the person having or claiming undivided interests.
  3. Describe the undivided interests, so far as is known.

How Much Does a Partition Action Cost?

California Probate Code section 11955 states that “the expenses of partition shall be equitably apportioned by the court among the parties, but each party must pay the party’s own attorney’s fees.”  Therefore, the cost of filing for partition in will vary depending on the amount and contentiousness of litigation involved between the beneficiaries.



Andrew S. Gold, Esq.

Probate & Trust Litigation

Hourly & Contingency Fees Available

(650) 450-9600