Contract LawReal Estate LawZinnLaw Real Estate contract law, Fort Myers, Florida

When it comes to inheriting property here in Southwest Florida, not every inherited property dispute has a happy ending. At ZinnLaw of Fort Myers, we encountered some families who create significant issues when trying to settle their family members’ estate. For example:

What if a siblings agree to sell the house, but one of the brothers won’t allow a buyer to see the property?

What if the family members can’t agree on a sale price?

What if one brother tries to lowball his siblings and pay them less than fair market value?

What if one family member is already living in the house and refuses to move out so the home can be put on the market?

What if one family member agrees to sell the house but never follows through with the paperwork?

If you’ve tried everything to work out a compromise with your family members over a dispute over inherited property, but have not gotten anything resolved, you’ll need an attorney to file a partition action. This is a formal adversarial lawsuit filed in the same probate court where the estate has been opened. These types of lawsuits are filed under Section 733.814 of the Florida Statutes.

If the estate has already been closed, this tactic is no longer an option. A real estate attorney can instead file a partition lawsuit under Chapter 64 of the Florida Statutes. This allows for filing a non-probate partition action in Florida, which can be filed by any of the owners of the property: “one or more of several joint tenants, tenants in common, or coparceners, against their cotenants, coparceners, or others interested in the lands to be divided.”

If you are to the point where you must get a real estate attorney to help settle your family’s dispute over inherited property, it’s a good idea to know what the process of an adversarial lawsuit, a partition lawsuit under Chapter 64 of the Florida Statutes, looks like. Here’s how the process works:

  1. Your lawyer files a lawsuit in the county where the property is located.
  2. The heir being sued receives a formal notice of the lawsuit.
  3. Both parties will conduct discovery (fact-finding, document retrieval, depositions)
  4. Court hearings may be held
  5. A judgment may be entered

Judgments are rarely needed in these cases. Most of the time, the parties settle. The property will either be sold to a third party or one family member buys the others out. Once an agreement is reached, the court order will be recorded as a public record, giving notice that the legal title of the property has changed. To find out more about these laws that affect real estate, call Brian Zinn. Give us a call for a free consultation to look over your case (239) 418-1529 or go to our website