Homestead Benefits and Protections

What protections do I receive from having a homestead in Florida?

For starters, creditors cannot put a lien on your homestead property or take your homestead property to recoup a debt. As with anything else in the law, there are exceptions to this rule e.g., lender forecloses on your mortgage (O.J. Simpson learned this one the hard way), county sells your home at a tax deed sale, contractor puts a lien against your home for work or materials expended there, and in some situations not paying your federal income tax.

Additionally, you get a discount on your ad-valorem taxes. From a property tax assessment standpoint, you could reduce your homes value by up to $50,000 and in some instances even more! If your homestead is valued at $100,000, your tax assessment value could end up being $50,000 or less. Further, the “Save Our Homes” Amendment to the Florida Constitution came into effect in 2005. This limited how much homestead property could increase for tax purposes every year; up to 3%, or the increase in the CPI, whichever is less.

Finally, it protects your family… from no one else but you! While you are alive you cannot convey the homestead away from your spouse, without their written consent. This rule applies even if the home is only in your name, and even if you bought that home with non-marital funds. In contrast, in dissolution of marriage proceedings, if you purchased the home with non-marital funds, and it was titled solely in your name, that home would be considered non-marital property in regards to the equitable distribution of property. Moreover, if you are married or have minor children when you die, the law prohibits you from devising your homestead to a 3rd party. The court would invalidate the conveyance; giving your widowed wife a life estate interest in the home and your minor child(ren) would get the remainder.

The Homestead laws in Florida are cumbersome, complex and difficult to navigate. This article is intended to give you a general understanding of the basics regarding Florida’s Homestead laws. If you have a Homestead issue and would like to speak with an attorney, email my firm at GuirguisLaw@gmail.com.

THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL ADVICE, NOR DOES IT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE READER AND THE AUTHOR. THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IS GENERAL IN NATURE AND NOT TAILORED FOR ANY SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCE.

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Posted on April 11, 2012, in Legal and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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