Florida Asset Protection

Asset protection laws are different in each state. Florida’s asset protection laws are among the most liberal, debtor-friendly laws in the country. Florida’s asset protection laws apply to permanent residents of Florida and people in other states who own real property in Florida.

Florida asset protection is based on several legal sources. The Florida Constitution, our most fundamental and important legal document, sets forth many of our most important protections of our assets including Florida’s well-known homestead protection laws. Next, over the years the Florida legislature has enacted many statutes, each of which protects various types of assets from our creditors. Finally, there are protections based on what lawyers refer to as the “common law” or legal tradition.

Common law is law established by appellate judges in individual cases. Because of the judge’s respect for legal precedent, the courts have built up certain traditional protections which are effective in courts even through they are not found in our Constitution or in Florida Statutes. Courts also establish asset protection through their interpretation of provisions of our Constitution and statutes. These interpretations tell us how the black letter law in the Constitution and statutes will be applied to real-life situations.  Consistent interpretations become part of common law legal tradition.

Florida law provides many ways to protect assets from creditors. People anticipating substantial civil judgments often move from other states to Florida to become a Florida resident for asset protection purposes. The most important and well-known Florida protection is the homestead exemption. Florida Statutes exempt many types of financial assets from creditor execution.  Florida also protects property owned jointly by a husband and wife from the creditors of either spouse. Limited partnerships and LLCs are used for asset protection because the creditor has limited collection rights against the debtor’s ownership interest in these types of business entities.

Additionally, some types of financial accounts and some properly-drafted estate planning trusts protect the beneficiaries’ interest and inheritance from their creditors

Moving to Florida

Many people from all over the country who have current or potential legal problems are interested in moving to Florida to take advantage of Florida's homestead protection and other asset protection laws. It is never too late to move to Florida to obtain... Continue reading

Florida Residency

Only Florida residents may take advantage of Florida’s liberal asset protection laws. Residency has varying meanings throughout different parts of Florida law. For asset protection purposes, residency means permanent residence, or domicile. A person may... Continue reading

Homestead Protection

In Florida, our home is truly our castle, a castle that is impenetrable by creditors. Article X, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution exempts homestead property from levy and execution by judgment creditors. This means that a creditor cannot force the... Continue reading

Statutory Exemptions

Much asset protection benefits for Florida residents are contained within Florida Statutes. These exemptions are available only to people who permanently reside in Florida. Salary or Wages Wages, earnings, or compensation of the head-of-household which... Continue reading

Tenants By Entireties

What Is Tenants By Entireties Ownership? Most married persons own property as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. Upon the death of one spouse, ownership is vested by operation of law in the surviving spouse. Many married people incorrectly believe... Continue reading

Florida's New Trust Law

The Florida legislature enacted an important new trust statute during the 2006 legislative session. The new Florida Trust Code, found primarily in Chapter 736, Florida Statutes,  became effective on July 1, 2007. Except as specifically provided, the new... Continue reading

ITF Accounts and Gifts

A properly designed gift-giving plan can help minimize estate and income taxes, and also it can remove property from the reach of the parents’ creditors. Lifetime gifts to children reduce the size of the parents’ taxable estate and thereby reduce the amount... Continue reading

Jon Alper

About Jon Alper

Jon is an attorney focusing on bankruptcy and asset protection in Orlando, Florida.