When more than one person become the owners of land or a home in a Florida probate case, sometimes the new owners do not have the same goals for the property. One owner may want to keep the property, while the other owner or owners may want to sell it. The way the law provides for these differing objectives is through requiring a forced sale through a partition action. A partition in Florida can occur either inside of a probate case or outside of it. However, if you are receiving land devised through a will or through intestacy in a probate case, a partition action may be required if you and the other owners do not agree on selling the property.
In Florida, partition of property in probate cases is governed by section 733.814, Florida Statutes. Section 733.814, Florida Statutes states, “When two or more beneficiaries are entitled to distribution of undivided interests in any property, the personal representative or any beneficiary may petition the court before the estate is closed to partition the property in the same manner as provided by law for civil actions of partition. The court may direct the personal representative to sell any property that cannot be partitioned without prejudice to the owners and that cannot be allotted equitably and conveniently.”
The key idea to remember about a partition is that in order for the property to be sold, the property must be indivisible. If the property at issue in the probate case is a square piece of vacant land, it may be possible to divide the property into several pieces for each of the owners to take sole ownership. However, if the property is indivisible, such as a condo or a home, the court has the authority to order the personal representative to sell the property under section 733.814, Florida Statutes. The proceeds from the sale of the property will then be provided according to the parties’ respective interests in the property.
You can also request a partition outside of probate in a Florida circuit court. However, a partition in probate is easier and faster than a traditional partition in circuit court. Under Chapter 64, Florida Statutes, a court must appoint three commissioners to determine whether the property at issue is divisible or can be partitioned without prejudice to the parties. If the parties in a traditional partition action agree that the property is indivisible, the court must appoint a special magistrate to arrange for a sale of the property under section 64.071, Florida Statutes. Alternatively, in a Florida probate case, the court can order the personal representative to sell the property instead of appointing a special magistrate. This can make things easier if the property is indivisible.
If you are a personal representative or are a beneficiary to a Florida probate estate, you may be entitled to petition for a partition of property if it is devised to you and another beneficiary. Even if you think that the other person or people who are owners of the property are willing to sell, it may be beneficial to petition to partition the property in the probate case to ensure that the property is sold easily and quickly. A partition in a Florida probate is faster and easier than a conventional partition proceeding in circuit court. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your options.
Request your free consultation today!