Why Is The Marriage Law and The Homestead Law CoHabitating?

cohabitationby Attorney Camara Williams
Last week I was going to write about the topic of Homestead property, and it relation to marriage and conveyance (I was inspired by my friend’s wedding). However, I became sidetracked with Veterans Day and I decided to go into another direction and speak about Florida constitutional law basics. This week I have decided to revisit the topic and give a proper explanation as to what exactly is Homestead property and why is it so important for a Florida resident.

The Florida Constitution characterizes certain property as Homestead realty entitled to constitutional protection. Up to ½ acre of land inside a municipality (Orlando) or 160 contiguous acres outside a municipality that used as the owner primary residence is exempt from forced sale. Florida Law requires that if the homestead owner is married, both husband & wife join any conveyance or mortgage of the homestead realty [regardless if the spouse was not on the original deed- they are AUTOMATICALLY ADDED].

Homestead property titled is one spouse name is not freely devisable at that spouse death. If there are minor children, the Homestead passes by the law of intestate succession- the surviving spouse takes a life estate, and minor children get the remainder. If there are no minor children, the property will pass as a life estate in the surviving spouse and a remainder in the owners lineal descendants (if any). If there is no such devise and no lineal descendants, it will pass to the surviving spouse under the laws of intestacy.

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Furthermore, the real property must be owned by a “natural person” the person claiming the exemption must be Fl. resident who establishes that he or she made, or to be made, the real property his or her permanent “residence” the person claiming the exemption must establish that he or she is the “owner” of the property the property claimed as the homestead must satisfy the size & continuity.

Now I know I did say that there are no forced sales when a property is designated as a homestead, but in law (as in life, period) there are always exceptions. Homestead is subject to forced sale to satisfy (1) taxes and assessments-[these are exempted by prehistoric properties based on use and character of property. And also vets 65 years old who were injured by battle] (2) Mortgages (3) Mechanics Liens [for labor performed on the property] (4) Equitable Liens [limited].

Who knew the simple act of marriage could mean so much? Many Floridians assign their property as Homestead (correctly so), yet they have no idea what that really means. Property conveyance is one of the key legal aspects that is often neglected when people say “I Do”. However, its importance in our everyday lives can never be discounted.

If you or anyone you know has a legal question regarding property exchanges, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

The Williams Trial Group
Office: 321-332-6136
“Creating A Success Story, One Client At A Time”
(Disclaimer- I have to note that my tips are strictly Florida Law based, and therefore should not be assumed to apply to your local jurisdiction. Furthermore, a tip taken from my page does not constitute any form of ‘legal advice’ in regards to any specific situation and therefore does not establish an attorney client relationship. You must consult with an Attorney if you want a specific need and/or question answered.)

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