Second District Court of Appeals rules that joint tenancy property is not automatically converted to decedent's homestead because decedent had minor children.

A Florida appellate court has held that property held by a decedent with his mother as joint tenants with right of survivorship is not the decedent's homestead despite the fact that the decedent owned one-half of the home and had minor children.  In a probate proceeding, an administrator ad litem appealed a trial court’s decision that property owned by the decedent with his mother as joint tenants with right of survivorship was not homestead property despite the fact that the decedent has minor children.  The administrator ad litem has asked the court to declare that one-half of the home was the decedent's homestead and belonged to the decedent's children.

The appellate court ruled that the Florida constitution does not prevent a person with minor children from taking property as a joint tenant with a right of survivorship with someone else.   The Florida homestead laws only attach if the house is actually the decedent’s homestead, and the Florida’s homestead laws do not prevent a home owner from purchasing property as a joint tenant.   This was a harsh result becasue the decedent's chilidren had no interest in the house and the decedent's mother owned the house outright.  This case also creates planning opportunites because now someone can avoid Florida homestead laws by initially taking the property with someone else as joint tenants with right of survivorship. 
For additional information contact Linde Law Group

See In Re Estate of Francis A. De Rosa 36 Fla. L. Weekly D214a (2nd DCA 2011).
Matthew A. Linde
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