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FLORIDA HOMESTEAD

Florida HOMESTEAD is frequently misunderstood and under-utilized by many Florida citizens, perhaps because people come from states which have nothing similar. There are three separate aspects to FL homestead:

•a. Exemption from Creditors

•b. Restrictions on Alienation (owner's ability to convey or devise real property)

•c. Tax Exemptions and Benefits -(includes portability)

So many clients wrongly presume that the real property tax exemption is all there is to homestead...

or they think the tax exemption is determinative. For instance, people often presume that property is not homestead just because the owner didn't apply for the homestead tax exemption. While they often occur together, the tax exemption is just one factor to look at. A property interest can absolutely be a homestead for the other aspects 'a' and 'b' above, regardless of whether the property is getting the benefit of the tax exemption. (Where there is doubt, litigation can resolve whether a home is exempt from a creditor's claim). http://www.naplesrealestatelitigationattorney.com/2016/11/youve-got-a-real-estate-dispute-how-do-you-optimally-resolve-it.shtml

Similarly, just b/c there's a tax exemption in place, doesn't make it absolutely Florida homestead. Not to mention how people open themselves up to serious penalties when they get (or keep) tax exemptions they aren't entitled to.... which then relates to mortgage fraud. Homeowners need to consult FL counsel if in doubt.

Florida's constitutional restrictions on alienation of Homestead is one reason that the US Supreme Ct ruling (Obergefell) legalizing Same-Sex marriage is having a big effect on Florida real estate, especially because the U.S. Supreme Ct. case has retroactive effect.  http://www.naplesrealestatelitigationattorney.com/2016/04/same-sex-marriage-and-florida-real-estate.shtml

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