Florida Homestead: Inheritance Rules for Married Couples

Florida Homestead & Inheritance Rules for Married Couples - SJF Law Group

Estate Planning and Florida Homestead: Considerations for Spouses

Let’s talk briefly about “homestead” in Florida, and specifically about the restrictions on who you can leave your homestead property to if you are married and you pass away.

What is “Homestead”?

Homestead is the home you live in as your primary residence. You can only have one homestead in Florida.

The Florida Constitution says that if you are married, you are restricted from leaving your homestead property to anyone except your spouse. Even if it’s not your first marriage, even if you don’t have children with your spouse, and even if you or your spouse have children from outside the marriage! However, married couples can waive this right to homestead in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement or another marital waiver agreement.

Let’s look at some examples and see how this plays out.

Joint Ownership vs. Sole Ownership: The Unexpected Consequences for Your Spouse’s Inheritance

Assume you own your homestead jointly with your spouse as a married couple, and you pass away. Your spouse inherits the property, not because of the Florida Constitution, but because you own it as a married couple, and upon your death, the title passes 100% to your surviving spouse.

Contrast this with owning your homestead property in your name only, but your spouse lives there with you. If something happens to you, your homestead property is going through an expensive and time-consuming probate process. Your surviving spouse gets a “life estate”, meaning they can live in and use the property for the remainder of their life, and upon their death, all of your children (from both inside and outside the marriage) inherit the property. The wrinkle here is that your surviving spouse can vote to take a 50% interest in the property (instead of the life estate) and own it 50/50 with your kids. This election must be made within 6 months of your date of death.

Avoiding Surprise: Secure Your Family’s Future with Estate Planning

As you can imagine, this can be really problematic and take people by surprise. Families can be taken off guard after the death of a loved one when they discover that the property is not passing to them in the way they thought it would.

Homesteading in Florida can be very tricky, so married couples should work with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure they are properly advised and informed about their primary residence.

Florida’s homestead laws can be tricky for married couples. Avoid confusion and ensure your wishes are met for your primary residence. SJF Law Group’s estate planning attorneys craft personalized plans to protect your loved ones and honor your intentions for the future.

Our estate attorneys support clients in Plantation, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and Miami. We offer in-person and virtual appointments for your convenience.

Ready to secure your family’s future? Our probate and estate lawyers are here to help. Contact SJF Law Group today for a consultation! Call us at 954-580-3690 or fill out our convenient contact form below. We take pride in prompt responses and look forward to assisting you.

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