If you are inheriting your mother’s Miami homestead property under a will as a beneficiary, you should be aware of the Florida homestead exemption and how it can protect your mother’s home from creditor’s claims against her estate.
In order to take advantage of this exemption, you must establish a probate proceeding with the Miami-Dade Probate Court if title to the property was held solely in your mother’s name at the time of her death. In addition, you must petition the Court for the exemption. The homestead exemption is not automatically given to you in a probate proceeding unless you ask for it. What this means is that creditors cannot force you to sell your mother’s homestead property to pay their claims.
Property that is held jointly is exempt from probate and is not subject to any claims by your mother’s creditors. So if you and our mother owned a Miami home together as joint tenants with right of survivorship, title to the property automatically passes to you. Creditors can only make a claim against the estate, and your mother’s debts are paid out of the estate assets, excluding homestead exemption property.
If your mother died without a valid will, in order to claim the homestead exemption and transfer the homestead property to you or other heirs under the Florida Intestate Laws, an intestate proceeding will need to filed with the Miami-Dade Probate Court. Click here to learn how Miami property is distributed in a Florida intestate (no will) proceeding.
Keep in mind that exception to the intestate succession rules are when there is Florida homestead property and a surviving spouse. The decedent’s surviving spouse gets a lifetime estate interest in the decedent’s homestead property when the decedent has children. After the surviving spouse passes away, the decedent’s children get title to the property. However, if there are no children, then the serving spouse gets the title to the property. If there is no spouse, then the surviving children get title to the homestead property.
Since most heirs and beneficiaries are not familiar with the Florida homestead exemption and how it relates to inherited property, they usually hire a Miami probate and estate attorney. The attorney will help guide the beneficiaries, heirs or personal representative through the Florida probate process and will assist with the preparation and filing of the petition for homestead exemption with the Court. The attorney can also assist with the review and disposition of valid creditor’s claims and other probate and tax matters.
If you wish to speak to a Miami estate attorney, call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (786) 522-1411.