Pauline Walters, as the personal representative of The Estate of Enid May Townsend, Appellant,
Agency for Health Care Administration, Appellee.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Lower
Tribunal No. 18-591. Maria M. Korvick, Judge.
Office of Dexter F. George, and Dexter F. George
(Plantation), for appellant.
Alexander R. Boler (Tallahassee), for appellee.
EMAS, C.J., and SALTER and LOBREE, JJ.
MOTION FOR REHEARING, REHEARING EN BANC AND CERTIFICATION
appellant's motion for rehearing and rehearing en banc,
withdraw our previously-issued opinion and substitute the
following in its stead:
Townsend ("Decedent") died on August 29, 2017. She
left behind, as her sole heir, her adult daughter Pauline
Walters ("Walters"). In February 2018, Walters
petitioned the probate court for summary administration of
the Decedent's intestate estate, the sole asset of which
was the Decedent's interest in a cooperative apartment in
North Miami Beach. The petition for summary administration
listed this asset as "Cooperative Stock, 16900 N.W. 14th
Avenue, Apt. 203, North Miami Beach, FL 33162" and
described it as being "PROTECTED HOMESTEAD."
Walters sought distribution of this asset to her, despite the
existence of at least one creditor.
also petitioned the probate court to determine the homestead
status of the cooperative stock and alleged that "the
Property constituted the homestead of the decedent within the
meaning of the Constitution of the State of Florida."
Walters requested that the court enter an order determining
that "the Property" constituted exempt homestead of
the Decedent, that title descended to Walters upon
Decedent's death, and that the constitutional exemption
from claims inured to Walters' benefit at that time.
notice to creditors (which included appellee, the Agency for
Health Care Administration ("AHCA")), AHCA filed a
statement of claim against the estate in the amount of $81,
276.76, and objected to Walters' petition for homestead
protection as to "the Property," asserting that the
cooperative stock was not entitled to homestead protection
because it was not a fee simple interest in land as required
by law. See Art. X, § 4, Fla. Const.; §
732.401, Fla. Stat. (2017).
a hearing, the trial court denied Walters' petition to
declare the cooperative stock homestead property, relying
upon In re Wartels' Estate, 357 So.2d 708 (Fla.
1978) and Phillips v. Hirshon, 958 So.2d 425 (Fla.
3d DCA 2007). This appeal followed, and we review the
court's order denying homestead protection de novo.
Spector v. Spector, 226 So.3d 256 (Fla. 4th DCA
Florida Supreme Court has previously explained:
Our constitution protects Florida homesteads in three
distinct ways. First, a clause, separate and apart from the
homestead provision applicable in this case, provides
homesteads with an exemption from taxes. Second, the
homestead provision protects the homestead from forced sale
by creditors. Third, the homestead provision delineates the