Legal Guidance From Attorneys Who Care

Homestead Exemption in Florida

by | Feb 13, 2020 | Estate Planning

What is Homestead Exemption in Florida?

In the state of Florida, a $25,000 exemption is applied to the first $50,000 of your property’s assessed value if your property is your permanent residence and you owned the property on January 1 of the tax year. This exemption applies to all real estate taxes, including school district taxes. An added exemption of up to $25,000 will be applied if your property’s assessed value is between at least $ 50,000 and $75,000. This exemption is not applied to school district taxes.

How do I apply for Homestead Exemption in Florida?

All the information for filing a new Homestead Exemption can be found on the Volusia County Property Appraisers’s Website. You do not need to reapply for a homestead exemption every year. The renewal is sent after January 1 of each year by your local County Property Appraiser in the mail. You should contact that office if you no longer qualify for the exemption, which can occur if the property is rented or is no longer your primary residence, or if there is a change in ownership due to a sale, marriage, divorce, or death. Failing to notify the Government entity may result in a homestead tax lien with a large penalty plus interest.

What is the filing deadline for Homestead Exemption in Florida?

The deadline to file for a homestead exemption this year is March 2,2020. Late filing is permitted through early September. To clarify the above there are two deadlines which need to be met so that you can benefit from the Homestead exemption.

  • In order to meet the qualification deadline for the exemption, you must be a Florida resident and own and occupy the property as your permanent residence on January 1st of the year you claim the exemption. You may also qualify for the exemption if you have a beneficial interest in the property under a 98-year lease or a life estate.
  • In order to meet the application deadline, you must apply by March 1st of the year for which you are claiming exemption.
    March 1 of each year is the last day to submit a timely filed homestead exemption application, although the property appraiser’s office may consider homestead exemption applications filed after the March 1 deadline.

What if the Homestead property is in Trust?

It is then required for the applicant to provide the Property Appraiser’s Office with a copy of the complete trust agreement and other required documentation. Florida law requires that the homestead applicant have legal title or beneficial title to the property, which can be established by reviewing the trust agreement if the property is in a trust.

Death, Descent, and Distribution Laws

You can leave the home to anyone you want if you are not survived by a spouse or any minor children. You may disinherit one adult child in favor of another or you may disinherit your adult children in favor of a sibling or a friend. If you are survived by a minor child and you are married and if your property is titled in joint names with your spouse, you can leave your protected homestead to your spouse through rights of survivorship. By statute, a surviving spouse automatically receives a life estate in homestead property upon the death of the spouse/owner.

As of October 2010, a surviving spouse who received a life estate in a homestead can claim a one-half ownership interest in the property instead. The children of the deceased spouse can equally divide the other half. The surviving spouse must make an election to claim the one-half interest no later than 6 months after the deceased spouse’s death.
In the areas of death, descent, and distribution, the laws are very complex. Due to the complexity, it is wise to have an estate planning attorney review the documents. In the case where the surviving spouse receives a life estate in the homestead with the surviving children receiving equal shares after the death of the spouse or a minor child is the heir, advance planning can simplify these issues following your death. The laws on descent of your homestead property can be incorporated in the plan for your property.

Listen to Sherri of Focus on Elder Law

Every Monday morning at 8:30 tune in to WSBB Am 1230 and listen in to Sherri talk about a variety of topics relating to Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Probate. Here is Monday Feb 10th’s episode to learn more about Homestead Exemption in Florida.

Contact Akin Law if you need any assistance with you Homestead Exemption in Florida

If you wish to learn more about what to do with your homestead property and how the law affects you and your family, please call our attorneys at Akin Law P.A, based in DeLand. We are here to help with all your estate planning needs. Contact 386-271-4740 today.

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