When someone has multiple children or grandchildren, their estate planning approach may be overly simplistic and lead to challenges for their beneficiaries. For example, it is surprisingly common for testators in Florida to name multiple family members as the beneficiaries of homes or vacation houses located in the Sunshine State.
In theory, joint ownership of a property could be beneficial. It could make it easier for the family to afford upkeep expenses and impose less obligation on each beneficiary. Family members could share holidays or vacations at the property or split the proceeds from renting the property to others. However, the joint owners may not agree about the use of a home or how to share responsibility for it. As a result, those who inherit a home in Florida may need to go to court to separate their ownership interest.
A partition action can help joint property owners
When the people who share ownership of a property don’t agree about what to do with it or how to separate their combined interest in the real property, then one of them may choose to request a hearing in civil court. A judge can review the situation and order the partitioning of the property.
Florida law allows a judge to order one person to buy out their co-owners, to order multiple co-owners to sell the property or to split the property into multiple separate parcels in some cases. Any of these outcomes could allow for the fair division of jointly-owned real estate when multiple people inherit a property together but can’t seem to manage owning it cooperatively.
Partition actions can save relationships
The resentment that can build up over the years when one person handles more of these expenses or physical maintenance of a property than their co-owners can destroy the bond between siblings or cousins.
Those who inherit real property jointly with others in Florida generally need to talk in-depth about how to handle joint ownership or they may eventually face a scenario wherein they want to end their co-ownership arrangements. Seeking legal guidance and pursuing a partition action may be a smart move for the beneficiaries of Florida estates that include real property.