I Love You…Now Sign This!


It’s that time of year again. Love is in the air, and spouses all over the state of Florida are scrambling to come up with the perfect way to show their significant other that they love and appreciate them. For far too long, spouses have stuck to the same unimaginative and uninspiring routine of exchanging flowers, chocolates, teddy bears, etc. How boring! If you are reading this, it is probably too late to help you this Valentine’s Day, but we are here to help with ideas on how to make next Valentine’s Day one to remember! Instead of the played out traditional gifts that are forgotten soon after they are received, start planning for next Valentine’s Day by considering one of these thoughtful gestures of love that they will not soon forget!

Often times spouses move into one another’s properties after they are married, but they are not on title to the property. Wouldn’t it be a romantic gesture to surprise your spouse by adding them to the title? Or maybe you are seeking an even grander gesture of love. How about finally giving in to your spouse’s dream of selling your current home and buying their dream home? Now THAT’S a Valentine’s Day gift! While these gestures will certainly win you points with your spouse and put you in the doghouse with your married friends, there are several considerations to take note of before making your plans to be husband or wife of the year:

     1. Adding Spouse to Title. While documentary stamp taxes would normally be due when beneficial interest in encumbered real property is transferred to another individual — i.e. when an interest in a property with a            mortgage is transferred — Florida law allows for such a transfer without payment of documentary stamp taxes when that transfer involves a married couple’s primary residence and the interest is being transferred to a          spouse subsequent to the couple getting married. Thus, in this circumstance, giving a spouse the gift of adding their name to the title of your primary residence will not require payment of documentary stamp taxes.              Even the state of Florida encourages gestures of love!

     2. Selling Your Primary Residence. If your Valentine’s Day surprise includes selling your home, be aware that when selling homestead property in Florida, both spouses must sign the deed, even if only one spouse               appears on title to the property. This is due to the fact that Florida homestead laws give both spouses an equal interest in their homestead property, even if one spouse’s name does not appear on the deed.

     3. Buying a New Residence. What can me more romantic than agreeing to go all in on buying the home your spouse has always dreamed of? As romantic as that may sound, nothing is less romantic than applying for a       loan to buy said dream home. Especially when you realize that one spouse’s credit is less than ideal. In this common scenario, it might make sense for only one spouse to apply for financing. There may also be additional       valid reasons besides credit scores when it would make sense for only one spouse to apply for financing. However, if only one spouse is the borrower for whatever reason, lenders will still require both spouses to sign the      mortgage document and other loan documents if the property they are purchasing is going to be their primary residence.

While all of these gestures are grand and romantic in their own way, they may first require your spouse to be in on the plan and take the unromantic step of signing on the dotted line before receiving their never to be forgotten Valentine’s Day “surprise”! As always, if you have any questions regarding these or any other real estate related issues, we encourage you to reach out to your trusted local real estate attorney.

Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC
Article Authored by Andrew J. Conaboy, Esq. aconaboy@berlinpatten.com

This communication is not intended to establish an attorney client relationship, and to the extent anything contained herein could be construed as legal advice or guidance, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your own attorney before relying upon any information contained herein.

All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.


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