Florida v. Texas: Which State Has Best Homestead Protection

Between Florida and Texas, Florida has the stronger homestead exemption. While both states protect an unlimited value of homestead property, Florida law allows a debtor to transfer non-exempt assets into a Florida homestead. Texas does not have a similar law.

Both states have liberally construed these homestead protections in favor of debtors. Texas protects homesteads of unlimited value up to 200 acres in size, and Florida protects homesteads of unlimited value up to 160 acres in a county and ½ acre within a municipality.

Texas courts have refused to extend homestead protection to protect criminal conduct. The Florida Supreme Court, in a 1992 decision, said that the Florida Constitution does not exempt from homestead protection the proceeds of criminal activity. In addition, the Florida Supreme Court in 2001 case of Havoco v. Hill stated that homestead protections supersede fraudulent conveyance claims.

The lack of any exception from criminal proceeds under Florida case law is one reason why people such as Dennis Kozlowski (Tyco), Scott Sullivan (Worldcom) and O.J. Simpson have moved to Florida and built very expensive homes. It is fair to say that why the Constitutional homestead provisions of Florida and Texas are similar, the Florida courts have made Florida’s homestead protections most attractive to those seeking shelter from liability.

Jon Alper

About the Author

I’m a nationally recognized attorney specializing in asset protection planning. I graduated with honors from the University of Florida Law School and have practiced law for almost 50 years.

I have been recognized as a legal expert by media outlets such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. I have helped thousands of clients protect their assets from creditors.