Estate Planning With Homestead Property
Florida is well known around the country for having complicated homestead exemption rules. These laws do not only involve taxes, but creditor rights and how such property can be inherited by your heirs after you die. Understanding what effect Florida’s homestead exemption has when developing your estate plan is essential, meaning that it would be essential to have a Miami estate attorney on your side in such as situation.
In short, the Florida homestead exemption lowers the appraised value of the home that you live in for purposes of lowering the amount of taxes that you pay on that home each year. It also offers additional protections against a creditor’s ability to seize your home. Finally, the law sets up a set of rules on how it is that homestead property can be disposed of.
If you own this property jointly, such as with your spouse, it would not go through probate, but would become their property in full through their right of survivorship. However, it is when you do not own the property jointly with your spouse, that inheritance rights of homestead property become way more complicated.
Up until October 1, 2010, if you didn’t leave the property fully to your spouse with no conditions, then their ownership rights would become that of a life estate, meaning that they had the right to the property only as long as they were alive. After that point, the property would go to any surviving children of the decedent. Life estates can cause all sorts of issues, including the inability to leave the property to loved ones in the surviving spouse’s own will and the surviving spouse being unable to sell the property with clear title. However, unfortunately for that surviving spouse, he or she would still be responsible for all the costs of that property, such as taxes. This was changed so that now the surviving spouse can force the surviving children to sell the property and divide the proceeds so that he or she gets half.
As for children of a decedent with homestead property, inheritance rights depend on the age of the child. In cases where there is no spouse and no minor children, the property can be left to anyone. However, if there are minor children and no spouse, the property must be left to them, usually with trusts or guardianships having to be set up on how to handle the property.
All estate planning is tricky, but estate planning involving homestead property is one of the more difficult types of estate planning situations that can arise. Because of this, the best option is to hire an experience Miami estate attorney to assist you in coming up with an estate plan that will make sure that all of your wishes are met after you die and that the people you love are taken care of. Call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (786) 522-1411.