Homestead: a “State of Mind”
A speaker at a legal seminar on Florida asset protection law, when discussing homestead protection in Florida described homestead as a state of mind. Florida homestead law seems simple, but it is actually very complex involving many facts and nuances. I think that describing Florida homestead as a state of mind captures the essence of homestead law. What the speaker was referring to is that whether a property serves as your Florida homestead is a matter of your subjective intent.
Your intent includes things only you know in your own mind. For example, homestead protection is available to you if you really intend to make the property a permanent and primary place of residence. It also matters whether you consider Florida as your home state. On the other hand, if you intend to remain here only until legal clouds are clear and then return elsewhere you do not have the homestead state of mind. Homestead therefore depends on facts and circumstance- your behavior- which indicate to a judge what your true state of mind is in regards to your Florida property. There are no clear tests or standards that must be met to have a protected Florida homestead. The expression state of mind is a great description of a complex law that is easily understood by laymen.
About the Author
Jon Alper is an expert in asset protection planning for individuals and small businesses.
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