Changes in Florida Homestead Laws Could Affect Your Estate (Part A)

There are special rules regarding Florida homestead laws that you should be aware of when you start your estate planning. An estate planning attorney in Fort Myers, Florida, can explain these rules in detail and help you get your financial house in order.

Since laws regarding Florida homestead tend to have a specialized nature, they have been a snare for the unsuspecting estate planner
. To make matters more complicated, revisions to Florida Statute section 732.401 were enacted in 2010.  As a result, the rules have been changed for surviving descendants and spouses who receive homestead property.

A Benefit for the Surviving Spouse

Florida
's Constitution already has limits on who is eligible to be the recipient of homestead property when the owner dies provided that the owner's survivors are a spouse or minor children.

The revisions to the previously mentioned statute give the spouse the opportunity to elect, within 6 months of the spouse's demise, to acquire an interest worth half as a tenant to the property as opposed to a life estate.

This interest will give ownership of the property to the living spouse. In turn, this allows the living spouse to sell the property through what is called a "partition action." If the spouse is successful at selling the property, he or she will typically receive 50% of proceeds.

Before Florida homestead laws were revised, the surviving spouse collected a life estate under most circumstances, and minor children were entitled to a vested remainder. Since the life estate interest couldn't be partitioned, the deceased's children and spouse were forced to negotiate the home's sale. If an agreement could not be reached, the property could not be sold.

If you're amid estate planning, an attorney, in Fort Myers, Florida, can sit down with you and help you take the necessary steps to help make sure that your wishes are carried out. Contact an attorney today at 844-764-5492 or 239-939-7100.

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