What To Know About The Florida Homestead Law & The Homestead Exemption
Florida has perhaps the strongest and most comprehensive homestead laws in the entire country. It is a potentially powerful asset protection tool for people and families in our region. It is important that you understand what a homestead is and how the law works. Within this article, our Tampa estate planning attorney explains the most important things to know about the Florida Homestead Law and the state’s homestead exemption.
Florida Homestead Law: Know the Basics
The Florida Constitution explicitly provides protections for the homestead. It cannot be amended by statute or repealed by state lawmakers. In this context, homestead means primary residence. More specifically, the Florida Constitution holds that homestead law applies to:
- Up to one-half acre of contiguous land in a municipality or 160 acres in an unincorporated county and its improvements (real property); but only if
- The owner has made or intends to make that real property their permanent residence.
The Benefits: Why Homestead Law Matters
Why does homestead law matter so much? There are two main reasons why homestead law—and your homestead exemption—is important in Florida. Here are the two main benefits of Florida’s homestead laws:
- Property Tax: There are key property tax protections for your homestead. As explained by the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser, the first $50,000 of value of your homestead is outright exempt from property taxes. This is the state’s homestead exemption. Additionally, there is a limited three percent annual increase on your property taxes for a homestead.
- Civil Asset Protection: Your homestead may be (partially) exempted from creditor claims. In other words, civil creditors are largely prevented from making a claim against a Florida homestead to try to collect on a debt or satisfy a legal judgment.
A Homestead Property—and Homestead Protections—Can Be Passed Down
In Florida, the homestead exemption is an important estate planning tool. Here is the key thing to know: A person can inherit a homestead property in Florida. When they do, they will receive it with all of the homestead protections—including the property tax exemption—fully intact.
A homestead property can pass outside of the traditional estate planning process. In Florida, probate only involves assets that are subject to civil creditor claims. As a homestead is protected from these claims, it can pass to heirs more quickly outside of the probate process.
However, Florida law does impose some limitations on who can inherit a homestead-protected property outside of the probate process. It may be a good option for surviving spouses and surviving children. A Florida probate lawyer can help you understand your rights and duties.
Contact our Tampa, FL Estate Planning Lawyer for More Information
At Strategic Counsel Law Group, L.C., our Tampa estate planning attorneys are experienced and compassionate advocates for clients. If you have any specific questions or concerns about Florida Homestead laws, we are here to help. Contact us today to arrange your strictly confidential initial consultation. From our Tampa office, we provide estate planning services throughout Hillsborough County, including in Brandon, Riverview, Town ‘n’ County, Plant City, Valrico, and University.