We Can Protect Your Homestead Exemption Rights
For those homeowners that meet the criteria and have a primary residence in the State of Florida, the law provides a homestead exemption, qualifying the property for numerous protections and restrictions. The law governing homestead exemptions allows for capped real estate taxes, creditor protection of the property and places restrictions on the transference of the property before and after the owner’s passing. These homestead rights allow families to retain their homes in times of economic hardship, as they provide significant financial benefits.
It is important to consult with a qualified real estate attorney to understand how the Florida homestead exemption can protect the future of your family. Both Richard W. Taylor and Michael P. Nordham are Board Certified in Real Estate Law Also, attorneys Richard W. Taylor and Michael P. Nordman are lifelong Volusia County residents, each with family in the county for over three generations. Both partners pride themselves as being zealous advocates in protecting their clients’ interests in or out of the courtroom.
To qualify for a homestead exemption, the property must be the owner’s primary residence as of January 1st in the year of the application. To prove permanent residency, a homeowner can provide documentation such as a Florida driver’s license, a State of Florida car or voter registration card, federal or state income tax returns with the Florida address or provide a will made under Florida law. If a property is located within a municipality, the homestead exemption benefit will be applicable up to half an acre. If located outside a municipality, up to 160 acres is protected. There are no limits on the value of the property. Application for a homestead exemption can be filed between January 1st and March 1st. Once approved, the benefits of the homestead exemption are immediate and remain in effect until the owner provides notification of a change, such as when the property is sold or no longer is the owner’s primary residence.
There are Many Benefits to the Florida Homestead Exemption
A reduction in real estate taxes is one advantage of having a Florida homestead exemption. As of 2019, a property is exempt from paying real estate taxes on the first $25,000 of the appraised value of the property. An additional $25,000 does not include school taxes. Additionally, those properties protected by the Florida homestead exemption are limited annually to a 3% increase in the assessed value of the property, thereby limiting tax increases. An exception to this would be improvements or additions to the property, which would be assessed without regard for the 3% cap.
Creditor protection is another benefit of the homestead exemption. A claimant can’t force the sale of the home to pay liens and this benefit includes the heirs that may inherit the property. Exceptions to this are outstanding debts against the property prior to having a homestead exemption, past due homeowner association fees, contractor’s fees for work on the property or if the property was used as collateral for a mortgage. The State of Florida can force the sale of the home if there are unpaid, past due property taxes.
For all property conveyances, the Florida homestead exemption requires the signature of the spouse of the owner, even if the spouse is not on the deed. However, a property deed transfer can take place if it is to place the spouse’s name on the deed. Florida Statutes address how a homestead is to be distributed upon an owner’s death. The homestead exemption protects the surviving family members, as the home is to be inherited by a spouse or child.
If you are facing a creditor’s lien on your property, litigation resulting from a transfer of homestead property or if you have any questions about how the Florida homestead law affects or protects you, contact Taylor and Nordman, P.A. We are Board Certified in Real Estate Law, experienced and knowledgeable. Our law firm understands the complexities of the Florida homestead exemption law. We can represent and protect your homestead rights. Call our office today at (386) 734-2558.