Can the probate judge order the sale of the homestead against the wishes of some of the heirs?

Asked over 2 years ago - Orlando, FL

My deceased father's house is in the probate process. It will soon be declared homestead. As PR (and 1/10 heir), I want to sell it ASAP. 8 of the 10 heirs agree and signed waivers to let me sell the house. Two heirs refuse to cooperate at all. They will not sell, speak with an attorney, appear in court, or open their mail. When told of this situation, the probate judge scheduled a hearing to authorize the sale of the house. We like the possibility of selling before probate ends, but it seems strange. Don't we have to sue for partition (after probate) in order to sell? Does the judge even have the power to order or authorize the sale of the homestead? If the judge authorizes me to sell the house, won't I eventually need the two uncooperative heirs to sign the deed (as part owners)?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Marian Audrey Lindquist

    Contributor Level 17

    6

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    chosen by asker

    Answered . When the judge enters an order declaring the property homestead that order transfers the property to the 10. That order also specifically takes the property out of the probate. I am not able to conceptualize how the probate judge is going to then order that property sold.

    I have experience representing clients in partition actions. I have dealt with situations where other parties to those actions don't open their mail, don't sign for their mail, won't sign deeds, etc. If an owner won't sign a deed you need a court order to transfer title. I had one instance where the property was very valuable, given that one of the owners was not responding to his mail the Court appointed an attorney to represent him. Partition actions with uncooperative family members are never quick, easy cases, and I have never seen one adjudicated by a probate judge.

    The contents of this answer should be considered friendly advice, not legal advice and the answer should not be... more
  2. Robert L Rutt

    Contributor Level 5

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You may benefit from contacting an experienced probate attorney in the area if you do not already have one. There are certain avenues you can take to sell the property even if all of the beneficiaries do not wish to. One way is to petition for the sale of the property because it is in the best interest of all the beneficiaries of the estate.

    If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact my office at (888) 634-3579 and set up a free consultation.

    This answer has been prepared for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The... more
  3. David Michael Goldman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . Once the home is determined to be a Florida Homestead, the court home will be distributed per the terms of the will or intestate statute.

    In most cases there are ways of forcing a sale through an action for partition. You should discuss the pros and cons of this with a Fl estate planning lawyer and determine if this is something you want to do.

    My comments are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship, are not confidential, and are not... more
  4. Steven J. Fromm

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . It would seem that the best course of action to have the probate judge order the sale of the proeprty. That would eliminate a parition action making it moot as the property will be sold during estate administration and the proceeds would be split pursuant to the terms of the will.
    Retain an estates attorney immediately.

    Hope this helps.

    Please remember to designate a best answer to your question.

    Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is sjfpc@comcast.net , his website for more tax, estate and business articles is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia... more

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