Florida Homestead Laws: What You Need to Know
Many people may have heard of homestead exemptions, but have no idea what it means. Homestead laws in Florida are some of the strongest of these types of laws in the entire U.S., and offer several protections to the homeowner.
Florida homestead rules will come into play if certain qualifications are met. In order to qualify, it must be a primary residence and must be one-half acre or less if it is in the city, or less than 160 acres (one-fourth of a square mile) if it is in a rural area. There are no value limitations in place.
There are four homestead laws, which include restrictions on transfers during a lifetime, restrictions on transfers at death, creditor exemptions and real estate tax benefits. The provisions for transferring during a lifetime or at death can be quite complex, and you may wish to speak to an experienced attorney to understand more about the potential options that are available.
What may be most beneficial for many Floridians relates to the creditor exemptions that are available under homestead laws. Highly-skilled individuals working in fields that may expose them to professional liability may be able to use some of the protections that the homestead law offers.
For example, if a person purchases an expensive home, he or she may choose to keep making payments on the mortgage, rather than pay the home off. If there is a small balance, the individual can make substantial payments on the mortgage, which places those cash payments off-limits to any potential lawsuits or judgments.
If you have questions about what homestead options are available to you, speak to an experienced Florida attorney.