Monday, March 25, 2013
Orlando REALTOR® | MarchApril 2013
Homestead rules needn't
disrupt your serenity
By Grace Anne Glavin, Esq.
Florida’s homestead rules may seem contradictory and confusing, but really they are not so bad. Here are a few points that should help you achieve clarity and maintain serenity.
--There are essentially three contexts of homestead in the Florida Constitution:
- Homestead real property has a practical exemption from ad valorem (cased upon the "value”) real property taxes;
- Homestead real property is protected from the forced sale by creditors; and
- An owner of homestead real property has restrictions as to how he can alienate or devise this property.
--The standards used for homestead tax exemption are different from the ones used for homestead creditor protection, and the standards are also different from the restriction on alienation of homestead. The standard for a homestead real property located outside a municipality is 160 acres or less of contiguous land and improvements containing the residence of the owner, while the standard for homestead real property located within a municipality is only one-half acre of land containing the residence of owner.
--While the constitution permits each person to claim one homestead real property, it limits a husband and wife in an "intact” marriage to claiming only one (not two) homestead.
--Finally, the Florida Constitution states that homestead property must be "owned by a natural person,” but in Aronson v. Aronson, 81 So.3d 515 (Fla. 3d DCA 2012), the Court held that homestead status remains when an owner has deeded his property to a revocable living trust. Revocable living trusts are very popular now for estate planning and when the documentation is prepared properly, the homestead exemption is not disturbed.
The Central Florida Real Estate Column provides this column on real estate law issues as a service to ORRA members to provide a general understanding of the law on various topics of interest, not as a substitute for individual legal consultation, and should not be relied on in specific situations without consulting with a real estate attorney. For more information, please visit www.centralflrec.com.
Grace Anne Glavin, Esq., Law Offices of Grace Anne Glavin, P.A., and Mortgage Title Company, can be reached at email@example.com. She is also a founding board member of the Central Florida Real Estate Council.