The Florida Uniform Partition Of Heirs Property Act
What happens if multiple adult children inherit a deceased person’s home but can’t decide whether to sell it or retain it? In the past, filing a property partition action to force the sale of the property was the only workable option if the siblings could not agree. But what if one of the siblings wanted to keep the family’s long-held property?
In Florida, a new statute, “Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act,” that addresses this issue went into effect in July 2020. This Act offers a method through which one or more heirs who inherited real estate can force the other heirs who desire to sell to be bought out. This Act will enable families to maintain real estate “within the family.”
What Is The Uniform Partition Of The Heirs Property Act?
The Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA) is a law in Florida that determines how an estate’s property is divided among the heirs after the death of a person. The Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act usually divides the assets equally among the heirs, with some exceptions.
The Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act considers all property owned by a deceased person at the time of their death to be part of their estate. Real estate, personal property, money and investments, and any other assets acquired during their lifetime are all included.
To determine which heir receives which asset, state laws typically rely on factors such as who was closest to the deceased when they died. They also consider whether the heir has a familial relationship with the decedent. They also consider whether an heir has publicly announced plans to challenge or contest any portion of the will.
The Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act is also based on the principle that property should be divided fairly and equally among all the heirs. This is regardless of whether they are related to the person who died.
The Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act allows for different types of property partitions to take place. This includes equal shares for all the heirs and per capita inheritances for children and grandchildren.
Another is special provisions for parents and other relatives incredibly close to the deceased. All of these options provide for a fair distribution of property while still allowing each heir to receive an equal share.
When Does The Uniform Partition Of The Heirs Property Act Apply?
Unless all heirs agree in a written or electronic record, the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act must be followed if the divided heirs’ property meets the criteria. The phrase “heirs property” does not refer to heirs who have inherited the real estate through wills.
Instead, the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act refers to all owners as tenants in common, regardless of how they acquired their property.
A property becomes the property of the heirs when each of the following conditions is met.
First, Tenants in common are the legal owners of the property. Joint tenants with the right of survivorship do not have property entitlement under the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act.
Next, the property’s division is not governed by any prior written or electronic agreements binding on all heirs. At least one heir, whether alive or dead, inherited the title from a family member.
The property should also be genuine property. Regardless of its worth, co-owned personal property is exempt from the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act.
Family members include ancestors, descendants, and collaterals, irrespective of whether they are connected through blood, marriage, or adoption. The Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act is not applicable when heirs have tenancies in common and none received the title from a non-relative.
Furthermore, even if only a minor portion of the land is co-owned by relatives, the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act may still be applicable.
Nevertheless, there are other situations when the entire property is controlled by heirs who are relatives. However, because of a previously signed, binding contract between all the heirs, the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act will not be applicable.
Importance Of Hiring A Lawyer
Suppose you are the beneficiary of a will or estate plan and are facing a Uniform Partition of Heirs’ Property in Florida. In that case, finding a lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process is essential.
A lawyer can help you understand your rights and options and advocate on your behalf should you need to go to court. The law can be complex, and any mistake could lead to severe consequences.
Hiring a lawyer during this process can be costly. Even so, it is critical to safeguard your interests if the heirs cannot agree on how to divide the estate.
Be prepared to give specific details regarding the estate and its assets. To help you decide what to do, your attorney will need this information.
Make sure your lawyer is knowledgeable about UPA proceedings in Florida. They should be able to guide all aspects of the process, including legal strategies and court appearances.
Uniform Partition Of Heirs Property Act Process
The Uniform Partition Of Heirs Property Act is not easily understandable. You should hire a skilled and knowledgeable lawyer to help you navigate the process. Below is an overview of the process of the Uniform Partition Of Heirs Property Act.
Action To Partition
The court must decide whether the land is the heirs’ property when it receives an action to divide the real estate. The court must divide the property under the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act if it has been determined to fit the description of heirs’ property. The only situation in which the court will not administer the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act when dividing an heir’s property is if all of the heirs agree on how to divide the property. They should also record that agreement.
Service Of The Action
The Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act typically does not restrict or influence how an action is delivered. The plaintiff has to post a noticeable sign stating that the action has started on the property.
This should be within ten days of the date the court decides the property to be the heirs’ property. It should also include the name and address of the court, as well as the common name by which the property is known.
In addition to the names of the identified defendants, the plaintiff may be required by the court to write their name on the sign. Throughout the case, the plaintiff must keep this sign-up.
Commissioners chosen by the court must be unbiased and may not be parties or participants in the action. Keep in mind that commissioners may go by different names depending on the jurisdiction.
Determining Property Value
In a typical scenario, the court must require an appraisal to determine the property’s actual market value. According to the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act, the court must select a single independent appraiser to establish the property’s true market value.
However, different procedures can be necessary depending on the jurisdiction. For example, certain jurisdictions might call for a second independent appraiser that must be state-certified and in excellent status with the local appraisal authority.
Once tasked, the appraiser must establish the property’s value under the assumption that it is owned solely and absolutely in fee simple. To put it another way, partial interest discounts are not allowed.
The appraiser must deliver a certified or sworn appraisal to the court. In certain situations, the court may not always order the evaluation process.
The first situation arises when all heirs concur on a standard for determining the property’s value. However, suppose any heirs are absent, unidentified, impossible to find, or remain unknown for any other reason.
In that case, the court cannot approve a monetary value determined by the agreement of heirs. The second occurs when the heirs approve the process of assessing valuation.
The court may accept an alternative, less costly method of determining the worth of the property. This is if the heirs decide they do not want to pay for a comprehensive evaluation. For instance, the heirs could ask real estate agents to assess the property’s value.
Then, average the sums given in the assessments to calculate the overall cost of the property. However, an agreement that excludes unidentified, illegible, or otherwise uncertain heirs may not be approved by the court.
The third and final circumstance is when the court decides that an appraisal’s evidentiary usefulness is outweighed by its costs. Following an evidentiary hearing, the court chooses the true market price of the property if it finds that the appraisal’s cost exceeds its value.
Filing Notice Of Appraised Value
The court must notify each participant with a known address within ten days of the filing of the appraisal if one of the previously mentioned exclusions applies. A statement stating that the appraisal is accessible for inspection now at the clerk’s office must accompany the estimated true market value in the appraisal.
It should also explain that a claimant has 30 days from when the court receives the notification to submit an appeal to the appraisal. The basis for the objection must be included in the appeal.
No notice is necessary if the parties agreed on a procedure for calculating valuation or gave the court a valuation agreed upon by all parties. This assumes that all have been included in the agreement and received notice.
Suppose the court has an evidentiary hearing rather than an appraisal because it decides that the expenses outweigh the advantages. In that case, it must notify all parties of the finalized value.
Hearing On Appraisal
The court must hold a hearing to ascertain the property’s fair market value after 30 days since the appraisal was filed. A duplicate of the evaluation announcement was provided to each participant.
The court is required to hold a hearing on whether or not a participant objects to the assessment. The court may take into account additional important evidence that either party submits in addition to the evaluation. The court must notify each participant of its valuation determination after the hearing before deciding on the grounds of the partition case.
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