Saturday, April 26, 2008

New Real Estate Case from the Indiana Court of Appeals

The Indiana Court of Appeals handed down Hays v. Hays (PDF format) yesterday. At issue was interpreting a deed's first-right-of-refusal clause and Indiana's partition statute. The parties involved were the son of the grantors and the wife of a deceased son.

Two things come to mind as I read the case. First, that good drafting follows having a good enough imagination to foresee the reasonable contingencies that might follow out of the relationship of people to the subject of the deal. Lacking any means for deducing the grantors' intentions, they may have considered that one son would die leaving a wife and then, too, maybe not.

The second thing coming to my mind is the operation of the partition process. The property will now be sold. Not part of it, but all of it. From my reading, I think saying that is not the result desired by the son is a gross understatement. Whether selling the property is best for the property is a question that cannot be answered by the opinion.