Articles Posted in Homestead

twohomes.jpgFlorida homestead is a constitutional protection which makes the homestead of a decedent exempt from the claims of creditors. Florida Homestead can apply to condominiums, however, a Florida District Court recently affirmed a lower court decision which held that decedent’s contractual interest in a condominium (which was owned by decedent at the time of her death) was not homestead property, and therefore, not protected from claims of creditors.

The decedent had purchased a life estate in a condominium from the condominium association and then entered into a repurchase agreement. The repurchase agreement provided that upon the death of decedent the life estate would automatically terminate and fee simple title would be vested in the condominium association, which would then attempt to sell the condominium for the benefit of decedent’s heirs. Therefore, the condominium was not afforded homestead protection.

Considering the descendant did not have an interest at the time of death, I am not sure what this case was about. If her interest expired at death, there was nothing there to protect.

home_under_water.jpgStarting October 1, 2010, if you die in Florida your spouse will be able to elect to take the traditional life estate in your homestead that is separate property or a 1/2 interest in the property. While this does not effect many Floridians, it does effect many who got married after purchasing their home or who have children from another marriage.

Traditionally the new spouse would receive a life estate ( the ability to live in the home for the rest of their life) and the children of the deceased parent who owned the home would receive the remainder of the property after the death of the surviving spouse or their step parent.

A Florida Estate Planning Lawyer can create documents that change or alter the homestead rights of a surviving spouse. Remember that it may not be your spouse making the decision, but the government or an agent acting under a power of attorney who make the decision and they may not agree with what you and your spouse decided upon years earlier. It is best to create a post nuptial agreement or valid waiver to address these issues while everyone agrees and before it is too late.

twohomes.jpgThe Homestead Exemption in Florida, which was established in the State’s Constitution, has always provided for the protection of the Family home free from creditors and liens. In 1985 the Constitution was amended to extend the protection to the “natural person” and not necessarily having to be the head of the household. The 4th district Court of Appeals ruled that a husband and wife who are separated for a period of time can BOTH claim the Florida Homestead Protection from creditors. This ruling does nothing to allow two homestead tax deductions. Law v. Law et al., 738 So. 2d 522.

The case involves a husband and wife who were separated for several years. They both claimed Homestead exemption for the Hollywood home that they owned jointly. But when his mother got sick, he and his wife decided to sell the home to pay for the medical bills. His ex-wife had a claim against him for support and brought action to seek recovery through the sell of the home. He filed for Homestead exemption. The court of appeals ruled that “we see nothing inconsistent with our public policy if we extend a homestead exemption to each of two people who are married, but legitimately live apart in separate residences, if they otherwise meet the requirements.” Court referencing Colwell v. Royal International Trading Corp., 226 B.R. 714 (Bank S.D. Fla. 1998) to show precedent on allowing dual homestead exemption. The court seemed to find it important to find that the separation was not contrived to defraud creditors.

If you would like to talk about how to create two homesteads and document them to avoid unnecessary litigation over the issue, contact a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer or if one or more of your home is in foreclosure contact a Jacksonville Foreclosure Defense Lawyer.

house.jpgWhen a person dies, who owned a property protected by a Florida Homestead we generally expect the property to be free from the claims of creditors.

There are certain situations when this is not true and other types of planning could prevent creditors from making claims against your Florida Homestead.

So when will your property lose homestead protection upon your death:

boa.pngBank of America Appears to be Foreclose on homes like a random drive by shooting writes Jonathan Turley on his blog.

The Massachusetts owners filed a lawsuit in federal court which states they paid cash for their home in 2005. This was five years before agents for Bank of America seized the house, removed belongings and changed the locks on the doors.

This is not the first time we have seen a bank change the locks and remove all of the homeowners possessions without justification. Hopefully this is not a growing trend. If you are being foreclosed on or have been locked out of your home by a bank contact a Florida Foreclosure Defense Lawyer to discuss your situation.

How long can I stay in the home or what are my options?

It is still possible to stop the Summary Judgment and remain in the home but you need to act quickly or you could be removed from your home in as little as 24 hours after the sale.

Most Florida Foreclosure law suits are improperly filed and can be stopped, but you should discuss your situation and circumstances with a Florida Foreclosure Lawyer as soon as possible. Generally, you should start this when you first fall behind in your payments but we have had success in stopping summary judgments and even sales once they are scheduled. Whether anything can be done depends on the individual circumstances of a case.

In a Florida Foreclosure Law Suit it is possible to amend an answer once it is filed. Often this is done when there was a mistake with the original answer or the Defendant has submitted a letter on your behalf as an answer. Sometimes the lender or the person suing you amends their complaint to change out the plaintiff or to change the language in the lawsuit. Courts will generally allow a part to change a complaint or answer but do not have to. Some changes are not permitted and you should discuss any changes made with a Florida Foreclosure Lawyer or a Jacksonville Foreclosure Lawyers

For more information on Jacksonville or Florida Foreclosure Defense See the Florida Foreclosure Defense Lawyers Blog.

a Jacksonville Foreclosure Lawyersknows that foreclosures in your neighborhood hurt property values. Good news for Texas residents, Today they have help in dealing with property values and the taxes related to them.

Homeowners in neighborhoods that have been hurt by homes with foreclosures might find some relief. The new Teas law requires appraisal districts to consider properties that have been foreclosed on when determining a home’s value. Homeowners in other states including Texas and Florida have complained that appraisal districts have excluded foreclosed properties and those with distressed resale values when setting some home values.

With as many as 1 in 6 homes in Florida facing a potential foreclosure, these values must be used to help determine real market value of the homes in an area.

Florida is not the number 2 state for Foreclosures as it moves ahead of California with 1 of every 165 homes in danger of becoming bank-owned reported the Palm Beach Post.

Many properties that sold in 2003-2006 are now upside down and if people loose their jobs, they risk not being able to pay their mortgage or sell their home. In November there were more than 3300 foreclosures filings. While this number is similar to October’s number it is 26% greater than in 2008.

With 1 of six foreclosures in the US being reported in Florida, there a greater risk of foreclosure in Florida than in most states.

As a Florida Foreclosure Lawyer we notice trends that would lead you to believe that the banks are using HAMP to collect fees and not to actually help people. A recent article on PUBLICCITIZEN a Consumer Law & Policy Blog has an article by Alan White where they quote some of the HAMP Conversion rates. It would appear from the very low rates, that there is an intentional effort not to approve, or to allow many into the program who they know will not qualify. The these numbers are compounded further by those who wait months to try to receive approval for temporary modifications.

As of August 2009, Bank of America had only accepted 59891 temporary loan modifications, while this may seem like a lot, they only converted 98. That means they collected fees from more than 600 people for every conversion. With All of the fees go to the servicer, It easy to see how Bank of America and other Banks are padding their bottom line at the expense of the American Consumer.

The bad news is that even those who are eventually approved find themselves in a worse position than if there was no loan modification. While the current payment is lower, many will actually end up paying more for their home than if they were able to perform under the original note. Since a prerequisite of the program is your upside down in the home (but not too much- we would not want to help those who really need it) maybe its a good that few of the HAMP modifications are actually approved.

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