What Is a Petition to Sell Real Property?

In Florida probate cases, a petition to sell real property is filed by the personal representative of an estate when court approval is needed to sell real estate.  The court will approve the sale if it is in the best interest of the estate and those who have an interest in the property. Notice of the petition to sell real estate is given to interested parties, including beneficiaries or heirs and creditors. 

What is Florida probate code § 733.613?

Florida Probate Code § 733.613 explains a personal representative’s authority to sell real property when administering an estate. 

Many wills include a “power of sale” clause that empowers the personal representative of the estate to sell real property without receiving approval from the probate court. When a will grants the power to sell or mortgage real property or a general power to sell any estate asset, the personal representative typically does not need authorization or confirmation from the court. However, some Florida courts (e.g., Miami-Dade and Broward counties) place restrictions on the personal representative’s letters of administration requiring court approval before the sale of any assets. 

However, if the will does not include a power of sale or the deceased passed away without leaving a will, the personal representative must secure a court order before selling any real property in the estate assets. 

Florida Probate Code § 733.613 states that when a personal representative has not been granted a “power of sale” and believes that a sale is in the best interest of the estate and interested parties, the court must authorize or confirm the sale before title can pass. 

Can a personal representative sell property in Florida?

Yes, personal representatives can sell property in Florida, with a few exceptions. In some situations, personal representatives may need to obtain the probate court’s permission to sell real property. Personal representatives are also unable to sell homestead properties unless the will grants specific permission for them to do so, as homesteads are typically transferred outside of the probate process.

Personal representatives can also sell real property owned by the estate, but, as discussed above, if there is no will or if the will does not include a power of sale clause, the personal representative will need to seek court approval to sell any real estate.

Do all heirs or beneficiaries have to agree to sell property?

No, all heirs do not have to agree to sell property, but they will have the opportunity to object to a petition to sell real property. It is in the court’s discretion to grant or deny the petition based on the “best interest” standard in Florida Probate Code § 733.613.

If a personal representative has been granted a power of sale and the letters of administration do not contain any restrictions regarding the sale of property, the personal representative does not need to gain approval from the court or heirs before selling property. However, if the will does not contain a power of sale clause, the personal representative will need to obtain a court order before title to the real estate may be transferred. 

When the personal representative files a petition to sell real property in the probate court, they must provide notice to all heirs (in an intestate estate) or beneficiaries (in a testate estate). Once these interested parties receive notice, they can object to the sale of the property if they choose to do so. If they do not object within the time period provided by law, they are considered to have consented to the sale.

What is a petition for administration?

A Petition for Administration is the document that starts the probate proceedings. In Florida, the petition may be filed by any interested party. It must provide basic information about the deceased, such as their place of residence, estimated assets, date of death, potential heirs or beneficiaries. 

How long does it take to get letters of administration in Florida?

Provided that all required documents are filed with the court, it usually takes 1 to 4 weeks for a personal representative to receive letters of administration in Florida.

The probate court issues letters of administration to the personal representative to officially recognize their appointment and provide them with the legal authority they need to administer the estate. Generally, this process takes about 1 to 4 weeks, but the time can vary depending on the circumstances in each case and the court’s workload. 

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About RMO Lawyers, LLP

RMO LLP provides personal and efficient inheritance dispute services to individual and institutional clients. The firm’s attorneys focus on probate litigation involving contested trust, estate, probate, and conservatorship matters. Serving California and Texas, with offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Orange County, San Diego, Fresno, the Bay Area, Dallas, and Houston. For more information, please visit https://rmolawyers.com/.

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About the Author

Scott Rahn, Founding Partner

Scott Rahn resolves contests, disputes and litigation related to trusts, estates and conservatorships, creating a welcome peace of mind for clients. He represents heirs, beneficiaries, trustees and executors. He utilizes his experience to develop and implement strategies that swiftly and efficiently address the financial issues, fiduciary duties and emotional complexities underlying trust contests, estates conflicts and probate litigation.

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