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Florida Probate Statute 733.814: Partition for Purpose of Distribution

It is not unusual for a decedent to leave a single piece of property to more than one person. For example, a mother may leave a house or land to all of her children. This may present a problem for the beneficiaries as they may not wish to co-own property with others, or the owners may have different opinions as to what to do with the property. In Florida, the probate statute addresses this issue by allowing the personal representative to partition property. To learn more about the issues related to leaving property to more than one person, partition, and the rules in Florida Statutes, section 733.814- Partition for purpose of distribution, contact a skilled Fort Lauderdale estate administration lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. We have extensive experience representing clients in complex estate matters and have the knowledge and resources to help with matters related to asset distribution and partition.

Action for Partition

Whether it is real estate or personal property, Florida law allows property to be owned individually or co-owned by two or more people. However, when property is co-owned, the owners sometimes cannot agree on how to manage the property or how to dispose of the property. If the owners of property cannot resolve their differences on their own or through voluntary negotiation, Florida offers an option for filing a petition to partition.

An action for partition is a request to a court to determine how best to dispose of the jointly-owned property, along with a request to supervise that process. The partition process may be needed when children inherit property and become joint owners, when an unmarried couple owns property jointly and then split up, or when a business partnership dissolves and cannot agree on the division of its assets.

A petition can be filed by any of the joint owners, and the defendants would be all of the other owners. Depending on the type of property, in granting the petition, the court may divide the property so that each co-owner will end up owning individually a divided interest in a portion of the property. For example, if the property at issue is a several acres of unimproved property, the court would likely order that the land be divided so that each person received title to an equivalent part of the property. If an equitable division of the property is not possible, the court may determine that it is necessary to sell the property and divide the proceeds among the owners. While sometimes the partition will result in each owner receiving a roughly equivalent portion of the property or equal proceeds, there are instances in which each person does not receive the same. For example, if one owner paid for substantial improvements to the property that person may be entitled to a larger share.

Partition for Purpose of Distribution

It is not usual for more than one person to be receive a single piece of property from a decedent. Like in civil cases, if the beneficiaries of the property cannot agree on how to manage it or how to dispose of it, under FL. Stat, section 733.814- Partition for purpose of distribution, the issue can be resolved by an action for partition. The personal representative can file a petition for partition, or the petition can be filed by a beneficiary. The petition must be filed before the estate is closed. In granting such a petition, the court may order the personal representative to sell the property if it cannot be allotted equitably and conveniently. To learn more about how to file a petition for partition, contact an experienced estate administration attorney in Fort Lauderdale.

Example

Tonya, a widow, passed away leaving 4 adult children. She owned substantial real estate, including a 6 bedroom family home and 12 acres of unimproved property. Tonya had wanted her 4 children to build homes on the 12 acres so that they could all live near each other. In her will she left the family home and the 12 acres to her kids in equal shares. Each of the children was married, and none had any interest in living in the house. 1 child wanted to rent it. Another wanted to convert it to apartments and rent it. Another wanted to turn it into a bed and breakfast. The fourth child wanted to sell it. After months of discussions and many arguments, it was clear that they would not be able to agree on what to do with the house. With the help of a Fort Lauderdale estate administration lawyer, one of the children petitioned the court for partition. The court order that the personal representative to sell the house and divide the proceeds among the 4 children equally.

With respect to the 12 acres, all 4 children wanted to keep the property. However, they all also wanted that property partitioned so that each would individually own an equal portion.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Purchasers from distributees protected: § 733.813, Fla. Stat.
  2. Private contracts among interested persons: § 733.815, Fla. Stat.
  3. Disposition of unclaimed property held by personal representatives: § 733.816, Fla. Stat.
  4. Apportionment of estate taxes: § 733.817, Fla. Stat.
FL. Stat, Section 733.814- Partition for Purpose of Distribution

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.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

To learn more about the steps in the asset distribution process, including the partitioning of property, contact an experienced estate administration attorney serving Fort Lauderdale. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience working closely with personal representative and other interested parties in all aspects of estate administration, and understand the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 733.814- Partition for purpose of distribution. We can help. Contact us attorneys at 561-710-4000 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.

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