Can Heir Force Sale of Jointly Owned Homestead

A caller stated that his parent had devised his homestead property 30 percent each to himself, his brother, and 40 percent to an unrelated third party. The brother lived in the property with the parent and continues to live in the property as his primary residence after the parent’s death. The caller wanted to know if the unrelated heir can force the sale of the parent’s homestead and an allocation of the sale proceeds

Because the parent had no surviving spouse or minor child he was able to leave his homestead to whomever he chose. The house is the brother’s homestead and is exempt from forced sale under the Florida Constitution. The protection is against not only creditors, but anyone else seeking to force the brother from his home.

I think the surviving brother has a life estate in the house. Upon the brother’s death, or his abandonment of the homestead, the unrelated relative could request sale and distribution of the net proceeds according to the parent’s will. Practically, the surviving sons could likely reach a settlement with the unrelated heir to purchase his interest in the house given that otherwise he may not receive any value for many years.

Last updated on May 22, 2020

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