HOMESTEAD & PROBATE IN FLORIDA
As a Tampa real estate agent who specializes in helping people sell inherited properties, I have an extensive network of professionals that I work with so that my clients get the best possible service every step of the way in their home selling process.
Gadiel Espinoza is a local Tampa Bay probate and estate attorney who helps clients with wills, trusts, and probate in Pasco, Hillsborough, and Pinellas counties, and some of this blog content was originally posted by him on his website. With his permission I am reproducing it here. If you have any real estate related questions, please feel free to reach out to me directly for a free consultation. If you have legal questions, you can reach out to Gadiel.
What is Florida Homestead & What Are the Benefits?
The Florida Homestead Exemption provides homeowners with certain benefits if their property meets a specific set of criteria (discussed below). Primarily, the benefits of a Florida Homestead Exemption are:
The law allows up to $50,000 to be deducted from the assessed value of a primary / permanent residence. The first $25,000 of value is entirely exempt. The second $25,000 exemption applies to the value between $50,000 - $75,000 and does not include a benefit on the school tax.
After receiving the homestead exemption the first year, any annual increase in the assessed value is capped at the lower of 3% or the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), with certain exceptions.
When you move and make a new application for homestead exemption you will be eligible to ‘port’ all or a portion of the capped value. See Portability below for more information.
It also prevents forced sales from your creditors with the exception of: your mortgages, liens for real estate taxes, IRS tax liens, and mechanics' and laborers' liens (for work performed at the home).
What Criteria Must a Property Meet In Order To Qualify For a Homestead Exemption in Florida?
There are three main requirements for a property in order for it to be eligible to receive a homestead exemption. The property must:
Be your permanent residence OR the permanent residence of someone you can claim as a dependent on your taxes.
Have been owned and lived in by you on January 1 of the tax year in question. So if you hope to claim the homestead exemption on your 2021 taxes, you must have lived at the property in question on January 1, 2021.
Not have been rented for more than 30 days in a given calendar year.
Who Inherits Florida Homestead Property?
Whether there is a Last Will and Testament involved or not, a surviving spouse and minor children will always inherit a Florida Homestead Property. However, if there is no surviving spouse and no minor children, a Florida Homestead Property can be gifted (via a will) to just about anyone.
Do the Heirs Benefit from the Homestead Protections When They Inherit Florida Homestead Property?
Yes. When the homeowner dies, the protections and exemptions pass on to the heirs of the decedent. However, the heirs must fall within the class of intestate heirs, according to Florida Statute.
Is Florida Homestead Property a Part of the Decedent's Probatable Estate?
No. Florida Homestead Property is not part of the decedent’s probatable estate, although the practice is to have the Probate Court issue an Order determining the property was the Homestead of the decedent at the time of his or her death, in order to have clear title when it is time to sell the home.
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process of transferring a decedent’s assets to his or her beneficiaries all the while under the supervision of a judge. Probate is a very complicated legal proceeding that requires the assistance and guidance of an attorney.
How Can I Avoid Probate?
A good estate plan can avoid the entire probate process, but you need to have a conversation with an attorney to discuss all of your options. One important thing to know is that a Last Will and Testament alone will not help you avoid probate.
The content found on this site is meant for informational use only and is not intended to be legal advice. Information contained herein may not be applicable to your personal situation and you should consult with an attorney if necessary. No attorney-client relationship exists between the users of this site and any other party, including but not limited to Gadiel A. Espinoza or the Law Office of Gadiel A. Espinoza, PLLC.