A caller asked the question of whether an unrelated heir can force the sale of the parent's homestead which was devised to three heirs when one of the heirs occupied the house, and the one trying to force the sale is not related but got a portion of the house by will. My opinion is that the homestead protection of the Florida Constitution would not prohibit forced sale of an heir's homestead to allocate the proceeds among the other heirs. The Tullis case (360 So 2d 375) held that courts can order partition of homestead property to allocate value among holders of interest in the homestead property.
In that case the ex-wife brought suit for partition of property owned by herself and her ex-husband as tenants in common. The Circuit Court made final judgment of partition and ruled that ex-husband's claim of homestead was not applicable and ordered sale of property, and ex-husband appealed. The Supreme Court held that the constitutional provision concerning homestead exemptions did not preclude forced sale following suit for partition by ex-wife, an owner in common, where both parties agreed that property was indivisible, that forced sale was the only method through which ex-wife could obtain beneficial enjoyment of her one-half undivided interest in property and court did not grant to ex-husband exclusive possession of family home as alimony or child support.