What is the Procedure When Homestead Property is Part Of Your Loved One’s Assets?

The Florida homestead exemption can help someone protect the home they live in from creditors both before and after their death.  The homestead exemption in Florida is an especially confusing one, meaning that heirs of beneficiaries may not know how it is that homestead property must be handled.  Having an understanding of how to handle homestead property is especially important for the heirs of someone who left such property behind, meaning that having a Miami estate attorney on your side is especially important.

The Florida homestead exemption is part of the Florida constitution and gives people the right to protect the home that they live in full time, otherwise known as their domicile, from many creditors. This is not the same as the homestead exemption when it comes to paying property taxes on the home, where the homeowner would have to register that they are entitled to the exemption.  For a homestead exemption, when it comes to creditors, the homeowner would only have to have that home be their primary residence.  This exemption not only includes houses, but can also be used for other homes, such as modular homes, trailers and condos within the estate of Florida.

Besides protecting Florida homeowners from creditors while they are alive, homestead property can also protect their family against claims from creditors after the death of the homeowners through passing outside of the estate to the decedent’s heirs at law.  This means that the homestead property would not be used to pay the decedent’s creditors, but instead pass outside of probate to the decedent’s heirs.

This does come with a slight catch, however, in that probate court cannot be ignored altogether in order for the decadent’s heirs to inherit the estate.  The heirs would still have to open probate for the decedent and have the probate court declare that the homestead property was actually homestead property that would be subject to the exemption, as opposed to other property that would not be subject.  This means that the heirs would still have to open a probate case, even if it is only to have the decedent’s home declared homestead property.

However, once the home is declared homestead property, it would not be subject to creditor’s claims against the estate and would pass to the heirs outside of probate.  There are a few exceptions to this, however, as there are some limited creditors that could still collect against the homestead, mainly in the form of tax liens and mechanic’s liens for work done on the property.

If you are the heirs of an estate that contains homestead property or are the representative of an estate that contains it, you should have a Miami estate attorney on your side to navigate this area of estate law.  While the protection is there against the estate creditors, you would want to ensure that all the steps towards having the estate be declared as homestead property are followed in order to protect your inheritance.

If you are looking for an estate attorney in the Miami area, call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (786) 522-1411.