Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

941 954 9991


Understanding Homestead Protection and Trusts: Can Your Property Qualify?

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Clients often engage realtors and brokerages with varying property needs for buying or selling. One of the most important aspects of purchasing real property in Florida is whether the property can qualify as a homestead property under the Florida Constitution. While most purchasers intend to own their properties outright, other purchasers may wish to protect their property by placing it in a Trust. This raises the question of whether a property purchaser/owner can maintain homestead protection if they hold the property in a trust. This blog post aims to shed light on the implications of placing Florida real property in a trust and its impact on homestead protection.

Homestead Qualifications:

To qualify for homestead protection under the Florida Constitution, a property owner must meet specific criteria, including:

  • The property must be the owner’s primary residence, and the owner must reside on the property;
  •  Homestead protection generally limits the property to half an acre within a municipality and up to 160 contiguous acres outside a municipality.
  •  The property owner must hold legal title or beneficial title to the residence.

Homestead Exemption and Trusts

So, can your clients preserve their homestead exemption when they place the property itself in a trust? The answer is yes! — with conditions. 

In brief, Florida case law and opinions issued by the Florida Attorney General recognize that Trust beneficiaries can maintain their homestead exemption as long as they meet certain requirements, even though the Florida Constitution does not explicitly address homestead protection for properties held in Trust. Generally, property placed in a Trust grants “legal title” of the property to the Trust. Beneficiaries of the Trust have “equitable title.”  Accordingly, while the Trust may hold “legal title” to the property, your client may retain their homestead tax exemption so long as your client is a beneficiary of the Trust, and the language of the Trust confers upon them a “present possessory interest for life.”

In conclusion, the interplay between homestead protection and property held in a Trust in Florida is complex and depends on various factors. Therefore, it may be beneficial for your clients who have questions about homestead and trust property to seek professional legal advice to navigate the intricacies of homestead protection.

Brad Spivey, Esq.

Brad Spivey, Esq.

Brad Spivey has been practicing as a litigation attorney since 2019 and handled a wide range of client matters, including complex business litigation, landlord-tenant disputes, contract disputes, insurance disputes, and personal injury litigation.

Newsletter Sign Up

Here's How It Works:

Simple Submission: Using Payload, you can send your EMD funds. The platform is designed to ensure your transaction is both secure and hassle-free.

Transparent Fee Structure: A nominal processing fee of $12.00 will be applied to your transaction. This fee is disclosed during the submission process.

Instant Confirmation: Once your transaction is completed, you’ll receive an immediate confirmation email from Payload. Our accounting team will also be promptly notified, usually within minutes of the transfer.

Specifically for EMD: Payload is exclusively for submitting your Earnest Money Deposit ONLY. It is not to be used for final closing proceeds or any other payments.

Deposit Limit: To maintain the integrity of our process, we have set a maximum deposit amount of $100,000.00 for EMD submissions.