When multiple individuals inherit the same property during probate, they might not have the same goals in mind. If there is no agreement between the parties on whether the property should be used or managed, one of them has the right to file for partition.
In this article, you will discover what you need to know about partition during Florida probate.
Probate and Partition in Florida – Partition in Kind vs. Partition by Sale
The legal concept of partition involves the court’s intervention in a dispute between owners of jointly owned property to determine whether a property should be physically divided among them or sold for money.
There are two types of partition in Florida – partition in kind and partition by sale. A partition in kind happens when the court divides the legal title of property among multiple co-owners.
For example, a court may determine the physical division of large property into smaller parcels of land, equitably distributing the ownership of each piece to the original owners.
The distribution of the proceeds obtained from the sale of the property occurs according to each owner’s respective share of interest.
A partition by sale happens when the court determines a jointly owned property to be sold, equitably distributing the proceeds among the owners. A partition by sale occurs when the court understands that a property is indivisible or a partition in kind would prejudice the owners.
What is a Partition of Property in Florida Probate?
Florida Statutes §733.814 states that “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.”
Hence, “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.”
Probate and Partition in Florida – Taking a Closer Look
A partition action may occur either inside or outside of a probate case. If the co-owners of inherited property cannot agree on how to continue a joint ownership relationship, one of them may file a lawsuit against the other co-owners for partition.
It is not unusual to find probate cases involving disputes among heirs, especially siblings who inherit real estate property from their parents. For example, one sibling may want to sell his interest in the property, while the other co-owners may want to keep theirs.
A partition action may be required due to the circumstances of a specific case, such as disputes among co-heirs of land devised through a will or intestate property inherited without a will.
As provided by Florida Statutes §64.051, “the court shall adjudge the rights and interests of the parties, and that partition be made if it appears that the parties are entitled to it.”
Additionally, “the rights and interests of plaintiffs are established or are undisputed, the court may order partition to be made, and the interest of plaintiffs and such of the defendants as have established their interest to be allotted to them, leaving for future adjustment in the same action the interest of any other defendants.”