Snyder v. Davis

699 So. 2d 999 (1997)

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Snyder v. Davis

Florida Supreme Court
699 So. 2d 999 (1997)

  • Written by Liz Nakamura, JD

Facts

Betty Snyder, decedent, devised her homestead property to her granddaughter, Kelli Snyder (plaintiff). Kelli was the child of Betty’s living, adult son, Milo Snyder. Betty’s spouse predeceased her. After Betty’s death, Kent Davis (defendant), the personal representative of her estate, sought to sell the homestead property to cover creditor claims, administration costs, and specific bequests. Davis argued that the homestead exemption against forced sale did not inure to Kelli because she would not have inherited the property if Betty had died intestate. Kelli challenged, arguing that she, as a devisee and Betty’s granddaughter, constituted an heir for purposes of the homestead exemption. The trial court held that the homestead exemption’s protections inured to Kelli. The district court reversed on appeal, holding that Kelli was not eligible to inherit the homestead-exemption protections on the property because Milo was Betty’s sole intestate heir. The district court then raised a certified question to the Florida Supreme Court about whether a homeowner who died without a living spouse or minor child could devise homestead property, with its associated homestead exemption, to a lineal descendent who would not have inherited if the decedent had died intestate. There was no dispute over whether Betty’s property qualified as a homestead, only whether the homestead exemption inured to Kelli.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Overton, J.)

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