Florida Homestead Property: Extra Bang for your Buck

Being a resident of the Sunshine State gets you more than just good weather. In addition to no state income or estate tax, Floridians get the added benefit of creditor protection on their home if they own the home in which they live. Article X, Section 4 of Florida’s Constitution says that your home is protected from all creditors except those holding a mortgage or lien on your residence. Specifically, you can protect your home and up to one-half acre of land from any forced sale if you live in an incorporated area. If you’re outside the city limits, you can protect up to 160 acres as homestead property. Those new to Florida may want to complete a Declaration of Domicile form and have it recorded. You can access the form at www.leeclerk.org under the heading, “Official Records.” Also, file for the homestead tax exemption as soon as you can.
This property tax break is yet another reward for dealing with the Florida heat and winter traffic. Florida law requires an application for the homestead tax exemption to be filed by March 1st of each year. To be eligible, you must be a Florida resident who owns the property you live in and have made it your permanent home as of January 1st. You can download a homestead exemption application at www.leepa.org. If you have questions about how to make sure your home passes to your family with homestead creditor protection intact, call Prather & Swank, P.A. to schedule an appointment at (239) 288-4315.