It is always a nightmare scenario to think of losing a home due to a reversal of fortune. With the memory of the Great Recession not far behind, homeowners remain wary of undue risk for fear of being made homeless.
Fortunately for residents of the Sunshine State, Florida has one of the most generous sets of "homestead laws," which legally exempt property from being forcibly sold or confiscated in the event of a financial problem that the owner is undergoing. The main part of these laws is that owners are allowed to register part of their property as a homestead, keeping it safe from foreclosure or bankruptcy.
There is no stated maximum value for land that is designated as a homestead in Florida, but one of the requirements is that the land must contain the primary residence of the landowner. As such, a person may not register more than one section of land as a homestead.
In a municipality, which are generally more populated areas, one half of an acre is the geographical limit of a homestead property. Elsewhere in Florida, the limit is raised to 160 acres. The Florida Department of Revenue maintains the proper forms for registering a homestead.
Floridians have the right to preserve their property under this exemption and several others in state law. An attorney may help landowners and property buyers determine the best way to protect their assets or transactions to make sure economic downturns or personal financial problems do not cost them a home.
Source: FindLaw, "Florida Homestead Laws," accessed Dec. 19, 2017