Non Citizens and Florida Homestead

Florida Homestead for Non U.S. Citizens is possible for two types of Florida Homestead exemptions.

The first homestead exemption is tax based.

If you live in your home  and you or your spouse or dependent child is a permanent resident of the state of Florida on January 1s you are entitled to file for a reduction in property taxes.

The second homestead exemption is a protection from creditors

In addition to the tax reduction, Florida’s constitution also provides protection of a homestead from most creditors  to protect the family home from improper transfers or disinheritance.

Florida courts have held that the “permanent residence” requirement means that individuals who do not possess the legal right to permanently reside in Florida cannot establish that a Florida property is their permanent residence. While U.S. citizenship is not a requirement, foreign nationals living in the  Florida on temporary nonimmigrant visas or unlawfully, cannot take advantage of the homestead exemptions.  Only a permanent resident who is lawfully living in Florida can file for the homestead protection and property tax reductions

The Florida Supreme Court expanded the definition of who is eligible to be considered a permanent resident for homestead purposes to include those whose spouse or children or other dependents living in the home  have the right to live in the United States permanently.

This case was about a couple from Honduras that owned a house in South Florida and were in the United States under an  investor visa program. Because the visa was a temporary non-immigrant visa, the couple did not have the right to reside permanently in the United States and therefore could not receive the homestead exemption. However, the couple had three minor children who were all U.S. citizens. The Supreme Court held that because the children could lawfully reside permanently in the United States, the parents were entitled to receive the homestead exemption.

Asset protection is an important part of an estate plan. It is important to understand what what assets are at risk, and how to limit your risk to creditors from potential liability.  Florida’s homestead protection can be a valuable part of an estate plan.   Florida is one of a few states which permit the home to be exempt from creditors including Medicaid Planning.  If you would like to review your estate plan or create an estate plan that provides asset protection from the liability of your actions, your spouse, or your children, contact a Jacksonville estate planning lawyer who includes asset protection planning.

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