Florida law protects “homestead” property from creditors both during the owner’s lifetime and after their death. Article X section IV of the Florida Constitution provides that individuals may own on piece of real property within the state immune from forced sale. This protection inures to the heirs of the property owner, effectively protecting a piece of family property indefinitely for future generations. To qualify for this exemption, the parcel, if located within city limits, must be no larger than one half acre. Outside of a municipality, the parcel may be as large as 160 acres.
While the homestead exemption is an extremely strong form of asset protection, it does not apply to taxes, mortgages, or construction liens. If the property owner has a spouse or minor children, the property cannot be devised (given away in a will) except to the spouse and then, only if the owner has no minor children outside the marriage. A property need not be designated as “homestead” for tax purposes the fall under the umbrella of constitutional protection.
In probate proceedings, we submit a pleading to the court titled “Petition for Determination of Homestead Status,” which, when signed by the circuit judge, gives notice to all that the property is off limits to creditors and simultaneously transfers title to the lawful recipients to the property.
If you have questions about homestead protections, call us at (352) 354-2654, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.