florida homestead exemption act



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Declaration or Designation of Homestead Explanation

You can protect your home, its equity and your real property against future financial disaster, and perhaps save a lot of money now! 

Welcome to the most important website for homeowners in Florida. We are here to tell you about Homestead Declaration. It’s a simple legal document that will protect your most valuable asset – YOUR HOME EQUITY - from liens, judgments and unsecured creditors, and it has nothing to do with your local county homestead property tax exemption. That is a separate law altogether...

Statistics in 2014 show that 3.5 out every 5 homeowners in America have, or will have, a lien or judgment placed against "any and all property" which usually includes their home. Most homeowners have absolutely no clue of how to protect their home and its equity against liens or judgments before they happen, nor do they realize that it will cost them a lot of time and money to have the lien or judgment made unenforceable before a homeowner can sell or refinance their home and keep all of the proceeds from the sale or refinance (Note: Do not let ANYONE tell you it can be 'removed', it can't. It can only be made unenforceable against your home and it's equity).

Our goal at Florida Homestead Services is to inform every homeowner of the importance of having a Homestead Declaration filed BEFORE any judgment or lien is filed against their home. A legally sufficient  homestead declaration claim made by you does not subject your home equity to liens, attachments, judgments, or unsecured creditors, and the process is protected by law in almost every state in America.

With the exception of 4 states that have no homestead laws, the rest of the United States have laws to protect the homestead for the benefit of its citizens. No matter what state you may reside in, all homeowners should have this protection of their home.
Our FAQ page will answer most of your questions about Homestead Declaration and help you understand the importance of this law. You can very well ignore this extremely powerful protection of your home and its equity, and you may never require it, but why gamble with your home's equity when it is inexpensive, simple, and requires only a few minutes of your time to obtain?


Homestead for tax purposes and homestead for purposes of creditor protection and exemption from forced sale, although related because both are part of the overall scheme of providing for preservation of the family dwelling, are not synonymous regardless of popular opinion. Florida has two distinct laws regarding a homestead...the exemption of a homestead from forced sale and from having a judgment or execution being a lien thereon differs from homestead exemption as defined for tax purposes. This exemption is governed by Article X, Section 4, Constitution of the State of Florida (1968), which exempts a homestead from forced sale and provides that no judgment or execution shall be a lien thereon. Clearly, this is a different thing than homestead exemption, as defined for tax purposes. Don't let anyone tell you that there is nothing you need to do to protect your homestead from creditors. It is simply not true. That is almost like saying 'there is nothing you need to do to protect yourself from criminals.'

A 'Designation or Declaration of Homestead' consists of a legal document which 'sets apart'  your homestead and can protect your home and real property before any calamity occurs or in times of economic hardship or from most liens, judgments and foreclosure. It has nothing to do with the process of filing an application for local, city or state government ad valorem (homestead property tax exemption) property tax breaks . . . rather, it's a complex and detailed legal claim that can prevent the attachment of your land and dwelling, or its equity, by creditors, judgments, liens or lawsuits, but you must make the claim under the statutory legal requirements of the law before the judgment, lien or levy in order to take full advantage of the law and make it more effective. You can also assert the legal claim to 'set apart' or designate your real property after a judgment, lien or levy, but the process is lengthy, costly and more difficult and will ensue during or after a mandatory court battle, which can cost thousands in attorney's fees and court costs. 

The Florida 'homestead protection' exemption statute allows homeowners to 'designate' or 'set apart' their primary residence to protect them from a forced sale. The law also protects the equity in a homestead property including the proceeds from a sale or re-finance in order to satisfy creditors. The local county property tax appraisers office is unable to answer your questions concerning 'designation of homestead' for protection from forced sale. They only deal with property tax exemptions. Hopefully, Florida Homestead Services can answer each and every one of your questions...Check out our Frequently Asked Questions HERE.

Homestead exemption in Florida

Homestead rights do not exist under common law, but they have been enacted in at least 27 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. If you own, and live on property in any of these states, you should definitely take the time to claim your real property and file this important legal claim. The fee for doing so is very nominal, and the forms and complete services for the State of Florida are provided exclusively by Florida Homestead Services, LLC. No other independent business service provider in the State of Florida provides the unique services that we do.

Florida's homestead exemption provisions are among the most protective in the United States, and refer to two similar, but unrelated provisions of the Florida Constitution. The creditor protection clause of Article X gives no limit to the value of property that can be protected from creditors. The tax exemption clause of Article VI renders property tax-free certain dollar amounts of the value of the homestead, as well as up to $1,000 of personal property. Both provisions apply automatically upon the establishment of a primary residence in Florida, but to reap the tax assessment benefits it must be claimed by a filing with the state. It can be lost if the homeowner abandons use of the homestead as a primary residence.

Scope of the protection

Florida's creditor protection homestead provision is one of the broadest in the United States. The value of the property that can be protected is unlimited, so long as the property occupies no more than ½ acre (2,000 m²) within a municipality, or 160 acres (650,000 m²) outside of a municipality. The provision is written into the Florida Constitution, Article X, section 4, so it can not be removed without a constitutional amendment.

Because of the scope of the protection afforded, persons from other states with heavy debts or large court judgments against them have been known to purchase expensive estates in Florida, a famous example being O.J. Simpson and Scott Sullivan.

One event that can drastically affect the value of a homestead is municipal incorporation. If a 160 acre (650,000 m²) non-municipal homestead is on land that is later incorporated into a municipality, the homestead will be grandfathered in and remain protected for the owner and his heirs. However, for any future purchasers of all or part of the property, the protected land will drop to the ½ acre (2,000 m²) allowed within a municipality.

Protection from creditors

The homestead exemption offers virtually absolute protection from forced sale to meet the demands of creditors, except under three special circumstances listed below.

One unique feature of Florida's homestead exemption is that it attaches to proceeds from the sale of a home, if the homeowner intends to use those proceeds to establish a new Florida homestead within a reasonable time. Therefore, if the owner of a $1,000,000 home sells that home and puts the money in a bank account, that money is still protected by the homestead exemption, so long as the homeowner has a bona fide intent to use it to purchase another home in Florida entitled to the exemption. This protection is lost if the funds are commingled with other funds not designated for such a purchase. Also, the protection only extends to the amount the owner intends to invest in a new homestead - if the owner of a $1,000,000 home sells that home, and makes clear his intent to purchase a $750,000 home, the remaining $250,000 will lose its protection.

One prominent Florida court appellate judge, Judge Barkdull, has ruled...'Absent notice that we are in need of this great protection against forced sale of our homes, few of us are likely to travel down to the courthouse and make a homestead declaration or designation just in case it might prove handy some day'...but this is exactly what every homeowner in Florida should do! Take the advice of a judge...

Exceptions for certain creditors

Three types of creditors can still force the sale of a homestead to collect debts owed to them. These are:
The State of Florida and its counties or municipalities, to collect past due property taxes;
Parties to whom the property was specifically pledged as credit for a mortgage;
Mechanics who are owed money for work performed in repairing or improving the property.

Because the homestead exemption is state law, it can also be over-ridden by the United States federal government, to satisfy federal income tax debts for example, although this has rarely occurred.

Protection to surviving spouse or minor child

The provision also protects a spouse in several ways. First, it restrains the homeowner from conveying the property without the approval of their spouse, even if the property is entirely in the name of one spouse, or was purchased entirely from funds of one spouse. The provision also prohibits a spouse from devising the property by will, if the homeowner is survived by a spouse or a minor child. A spouse may waive these rights with respect to the will, but a minor child is not competent to do so. Finally, the homestead exemption automatically attaches to the surviving spouse, so the property will never be exposed to the creditors of either spouse because of the death of the other.

Also, should one spouse die, the survivor and any children are protected under the exemption until the survivor dies and the youngest child is of age. And naturally, the homestead asset protection exemption terminates if you sell the property or rent the entire property (not a portion rented out if you still reside there) to another which constitutes legal 'abandonment'. The exemption does not terminate on the homeowners demise, instead the protection passes to his or her heirs. Trusts in order to avoid probate may be very useful in this situation, but the trust and deed must contain specific language in order to claim the exemption. Contact us on this issue. Claims can be filed on successive dwelling places, but only on one site at a time.


Public Purpose

Florida's homestead exemption serves the compelling public purpose of promoting stability and welfare of the state and its citizens by securing to the householder(s) a home, so that householder may live beyond the reach of financial misfortune. Under Florida law, homestead exemption may not be used to shield property from: (1) payment of property taxes and assessments thereon; (2) obligations contracted for the purchase, improvement or repair thereof (Secured Mortgage or a Contractor's lien); or (3) obligations contracted for house, field or other labor or services performed on realty (Mechanic's or Contractor's lien agreed to under the contract). The right to contract is expressly guaranteed by the Florida Constitution and the right to contract and to use one’s property as one wills are fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the State of Florida.

Though they vary from one state to another, homestead statutes are similar in their intent. They are designed to preserve family homes which might otherwise be taken in times of monetary misfortune, loss of income or upon the death of the head of the household and to prevent citizens from becoming a financial burden on the public and of the state. In general, this protection is available only if the declaration of homestead claim is filed in advance of such a catastrophe. Of course, a legal judgment resulting from business losses, auto accidents, or suddenly inherited debts could wipe out a family's savings and assets, but with the safeguards provided by the homestead statutes, their house and land and their income would be fully protected up to the amount of exemption allowed by their state but only if the claim is legally asserted in writing.

Say, for example, that your state has a homestead exemption law, and your creditors, a lawyer, an ex-spouse, a creditor of any type, code enforcement or a court judgment under execution are demanding money from you. If your property is worth money or if you have any equity in your property, they can't attach or force the sale of your home as payment for the debt as long as you make a prior declaration of homestead claim. On the other hand, if you owe money and your home is worth more than what you owe, your creditors cannot get a court order that forces you to sell, but again, only if you have claimed your legal protection by designating your real property and 'setting it apart' in writing in order to protect it. This is where Florida Homestead Services comes into play. Even then, you still have some protection, since after the sale you will be covered by your homestead declaration if you have filed it. As a general rule, a person can file a declaration of homestead at any time before the date of a forced sale, and such filing will protect the property from forced sale. A declaration of homestead may be filed during the pendency of litigation at any time before the judgment has become a lien on property; if it is filed after the rendition of the judgment, it will defeat an existing attachment lien; if it is filed after levy of execution and there is no valid and subsisting judgment lien, the property is not subject to execution sale. 

The exemption accorded by the constitutional provision has been part of the Florida Constitution for over a hundred years. In 1884, the Florida Supreme Court set forth the policy considerations underlying this provision: 'True, a man may sell his personal property, or may pledge or mortgage it, but in that case the property sold or pledged is designated and identified and a special interest is created in favor of a creditor in the particular article pledged or mortgaged, and in no State is this power of the owner of personalty denied. The object of exemption laws is to protect people of limited means and their families in the enjoyment of so much property as may be necessary to prevent absolute pauperism and want, and against the consequence of ill advised promises which their lack of judgment and discretion may have led them to make, or which they may have been induced to enter into by the persuasions of others.'

The courts confirm that the Florida Constitution protects the homestead against every type of claim and judgment except those specifically mentioned in the constitutional provision itself, and that other than for the purposes stated in this provision, cannot be waived, observing that protection of homestead from alienation cannot be waived by contract or otherwise. In honoring an agreement or a contract made whereby a party “knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently” waives his or her constitutional right, a waiver of this type signed by a party is contrary to the policy of this State.

Florida's concern is well-taken and is supported by the fact that one hundred years after the pronouncement in court precedent, the people of the State of Florida, in a general election held in November 1984, amended their constitution to dramatically expand the class of persons who could take advantage of Florida’s homestead law by substituting the qualifying phrase “a natural person” for the “head of a family” qualifier that had existed in every version of the constitutional provision from its first adoption in 1868.

Since that time, any resident of the state, whether single, divorced, or widowed, has had the legal capacity to assert the shield of the exemption of homestead property from a forced sale without regard to familial standing or other status or station in life. Thereafter, the decisions from our Supreme Court reflect, sometimes to the Court’s personal discomfort, that the benefit of the constitutional shield against forced sales of one’s homestead property has been changed from one that exists solely for the protection of the family home to an entitlement available to all comers to the great State of Florida. The people of this state in 1984 also expanded the breadth of the availability of the shield of homestead to all persons who hold an interest in homestead property without regard to criminal or immoral conduct.

Under Florida law, the intent to establish a homestead claim is evidenced by a debtor's specific acts toward creating a permanent abode and legally declaring such abode as a homestead, which are not contradicted by debtor's subsequent behavior. Thus under Florida law, homestead is established when there is an actual intention to live permanently in a home place, coupled with actual use and occupancy of the home place, along with a written legally sufficient claim. All that is required by law to establish a homestead written legal claim, is that the claimant resides on property and in good faith makes the same his permanent home. No other requirements need to be met. When there is an actual intention to live permanently in a place, coupled with actual use and occupancy, the homestead claim can be enforced but must be made in writing to be legally sufficient and in order to withstand legal scrutiny should the need arise. Actual or continuous residence is not required for homestead exemption when a declaration of homestead has been filed.

The 'Homestead Exemption' or 'Declaration' for protection of real property is not as 'automatic' as most people assume. The saying "They can't take your house in Florida" is not true unless you claim it as your homestead separate and apart from the twenty-five thousand dollar ad valorem property tax exemption, as separate laws were enacted for each specific purpose. A written legal claim of a homestead should be asserted with respect to land that is occupied under the requirements contemplated by the state law or statute, together with buildings and other improvements, that are essential or convenient to the use or enjoyment of the land as a homestead. 

If a constitution, such as Florida's, provides that a homestead shall be exempt from execution, the provision is self-executing. However, certain homestead provisions have been held by courts as not to be self-executing, as where the constitution requires the legislature to enact a statute to implement the provision, or where the constitutional homestead exemption cannot be effective without the passage of a law determining the amount, or the requirements to invoke the rights of the exemption or protections thereunder. This statement applies to Florida's homestead exemption for the protection of a home and its equity. While in some states the operation of homestead protection is automatic and a formal declaration that certain land has been selected as a homestead is not a necessary element in the establishment of the homestead right under some legal provisions of the law, the homestead exemption laws in Florida require a written designation of homestead property or the filing of a declaration to make the exemption operative. Illustration: A constitutional homestead protection provision is not self-executing where it imposes upon the state legislature the duty of setting up some statutory procedure by which the owner of real estate may protect the property from sale or execution of a portion of his property as his homestead. The procedure is set out in Florida's statutes.

The Florida Constitution on homestead 'asset protection' or a 'declaration of homestead' imposes upon the state legislature a duty of setting up some statutory procedure by which the owner of real estate may protect the property from sale or execution of all, or a portion of his property, as his legal homestead. The written legally sufficient claim must be made per the statute or the homestead protection may be ineffective against judgment creditors. The legislation requiring the written claim to be made was enacted by the Florida Legislature in order to prescribe a practice to be used for the state constitution's self-executing provision's enforcement and to provide a convenient remedy for the protection of the property rights secured by the constitution or the determination thereof, and to place reasonable safeguards around the exercise of the right. Even if a constitutional provision states that it is self-executing, some legislative action is usually necessary to effectuate its purposes, but legislative authority to provide the method of exercising a constitutional power exists only where the constitutional provisions themselves do not provide the manner, means, and methods for executing the powers therein conferred, such as in the state of Florida.

If there is a lien or judgment against a homeowner, Florida law allows the sale or re-finance of the real property free and clear without any encumbrance, but after the declaration claim and notice to the creditor(s) is made. Please contact us on this issue.

There must be strict compliance with the procedural legal requirements for 'setting apart' and perfecting the homestead protection and, under some provisions, there cannot be a homestead right in any specific property until a declaration and selection of a homestead has been made, again evidenced in writing, and recorded in accordance with the legal requirements. Where the law simply says that the property, when selected, shall be exempt from forced sale, the conclusion is that after the selection has been made and filed for record, a levy upon or sale of the homestead property cannot be legally made unless the demand of the creditor is within the excepted classes of debts (i.e., secured mortgage, property tax lien or mechanic's/contractor's lien). Under the statute, a homestead claimant, in order to be entitled to the protection of the law, must execute a formal declaration of homestead stating the legal requirements of the declarant or his or her spouse and file it in the legally prescribed manner. When a declaration of homestead has been filed, such declaration is prima facie evidence of the validity of the facts therein stated. A declaration of homestead may, under some statutes, be made by the owner and/or by his spouse. We recommend both parties in a marriage file the claim jointly so as to protect the property from creditors of either spouse. Title to the claimed homestead may be held by the entireties, jointly, in trust, or in common with others, and the exemption may be apportioned among such of the owners as shall reside thereon, as their respective interests shall appear. An equity interest is all that is required to make the claim, coupled with actual use of the property.

Furthermore, some kinds of debts must be completely honored with or without a homestead declaration. If you have put your property up as collateral on a secured loan, for example a mortgage, the homestead asset protection exemption or declaration does not apply. Other debts not covered include debts for property taxes and construction or contractual-mechanics liens, or, if you fail to pay someone you've hired under a contract to make improvements on your house or land, they can place a lien on your property and have it forcefully sold in order to collect the money. All other liens do not count against properly homesteaded property, but you must file your claim through us, in writing to 'designate' or 'set apart' the property before hand. You can also file for protection after a lawsuit commences, but  again the process may be more costly and difficult to defend. Again, the homestead exemption for ad valorem property tax 'breaks' do not afford the same legal protection and the protection is not automatic.

Fortunately, homestead laws are usually, in legal terms, 'liberally construed' which means that they always should work in favor of the homeowner. An apartment (if you own it or have an equity interest in it), a condo, a mansion, a cabin, a boat, a motor home, a villa by the sea, or a tent can qualify as a homestead provided the dwelling is the 'bona fide primary residence of the claimant'. This simply means that if you intend to use the property as a homestead and actually use it, you can make the 'declaration of homestead claim' and protect the property from creditors, liens and judgments. If you haven't built a house yet, you might still be able to claim a 'homestead' your future home site. In one case, a 160-acre parcel was judged to be a homestead because the owner had shown intent to live there to the court by building and drilling two wells and planting fruit trees. Intention to live on the property as a primary residence is the key. Another landowner was camping out on the property to meet the residency requirements. A family is allowed only one homestead which should be considered the primary residence, and must show good faith in their claim. Summer vacation cabins, for example, on which declarations have been filed and accepted, have been taken away for debt payment, but there are legal loopholes in order to be able to claim a second property in Florida. Contact us for more details.

Outbuildings and land that are used by the family for enjoyment or livelihood are generally considered part of the homestead claim, but adjacent lots or parcels next to a home that are held for idle investment purposes might not qualify, unless they're gardened, logged, or farmed.

Generally speaking, most states homestead exemptions usually apply only to married couples and their families. In Florida, as previously mentioned, any single or 'natural person' can claim their real property, or home, as a homestead to protect it. If you have any equity interest in a property, you can claim it even if there are multiple owners. Florida also has a 'head-of-household' wage or income exemption that protects income, provided one person supports another dependent. The dependent can be anyone provided the 'head of family' supports them with fifty percent or more of the head of family's income. This exemption protects wages and income should they attempt to be garnished or attached. Wages less than $500 per week are exempt from garnishment, and garnishment of wages above $500 per week must be agreed to in writing.

As a general rule, a person can file a declaration of homestead at any time before the date of a forced sale or creditor claim-judgment, and such filing will protect the property from sale. Once the declaration of homestead has been filed, such declaration constitutes prima facie evidence of the validity of the facts stated therein. A declaration of homestead may be filed during the pendency of litigation at any time before the judgment has become a lien on property. If the declaration is filed after the rendition of the judgment, it may defeat an existing attachment lien. If it is filed after levy of execution and there is no valid and subsisting judgment lien, the property is not subject to execution sale except on proceedings to reach the excess in value over the homestead exemption, which is unlimited in Florida. 

In other states other than Florida, the protections provided by homestead exemption asset protection law provisions may operate automatically, and thus there may be no need to make a formal written declaration that certain land has been selected as a homestead in order to invoke the exemption. This practice is not recommended and every homeowner should make a legal written claim immediately or upon purchase. The homestead exemption claim can be made upon occupancy and use of real property as a home by the owner or owner's family and also anytime upon the written claim. In a few jurisdictions, there are provisions both for a declared homestead and an automatic exemption, with each provision conferring different rights on the homesteader, without overlap between those rights. 

In jurisdictions such as Florida where the homestead exemption provision may require the filing of a formal written and legally sufficient declaration of homestead property in order to set it apart, it must be filed of record in the prescribed manner provided by law. In order to claim the homestead exemption, the claimant must show that there has been compliance with the provisions of the statute, and the declaration of homestead must have been executed and filed exactly as therein provided, under oath, and it must be complete and legally sufficient or it may be easily defeated by a creditor or legal adversary. A declaration of homestead which omits any of the statutory legal requirements and language is fatally defective, or may be 'legally insufficient', and confers no exemption or protection rights on the homeowner. There are multiple items that must be included in the written claim to make it legally sufficient and not vulnerable to creditor attack. This legal sufficiency is very important and is crucial to any subsequent defense and protection of homestead real property and its equity. 

A declaration of homestead ordinarily requires a statement that the person making it is currently residing on the premises at the time of filing such declaration, and the absence of the residency statement may well render the declaration ineffectual. For example, one court held that a homestead declaration which failed to state that the declarants were residents of the state at the time the declaration was made, as required by statute, was invalid. In another case, the court held that a homestead declaration was invalid because the claimant vacated the premises he selected as a homestead and permanently moved to another state before the declaration was filed with the clerk of court even though the claimant was in full compliance with the residence requirements of the statute when he signed the declaration. On the other hand, a residency statement may be excused where the person is allowed to make the declaration while not a resident, as where the wife is allowed to make a declaration but she is absent from the premises because of the wrongful acts of her husband, or vice-versa. A homestead claimed by a husband on a home jointly owned with his wife is valid even though the wife has a separate interest in the property and does not join in executing the declaration, where the homestead was filed while the husband and wife occupied the home, in that the community or equity interest was sufficient to support the homestead claim and the wife's signature was not necessary to validate it. 

A declaration of homestead which completely omits any of the statutory requirements is fatally defective and confers no exemption rights on the declarants. If a debtor does not select or designate exempt property in writing prior to a levy, the levying officer is not bound to make the exemption for the debtor or homeowner, but may seize all the real property and its equity. However, if the property is claimed as exempt, the officer should make an attempt to see that the exemptions are ‘set apart’ or ‘set out’ via the declaration claim.

The homestead must be selected or set apart and claimed by the homestead claimant by making, signing, and acknowledging a declaration of homestead in which the declaration must, before the time stated in the notice of sale on execution or on other judicial sale as the time of sale of premises in which the homestead is claimed, be delivered to and served upon the sheriff or other officer conducting the sale or recorded with the county recorder. If no such claim is filed or served as provided by law, title shall pass to the purchaser at such sale free and clear of all homestead rights. The statutes must be read together and the most reasonable construction is that the homestead is immune from judgment, lien, execution or forced sale, providing a formal declaration of the existing exemption is made prior to the time set for sale or execution. 

*** Failure to set apart the property or designate and claim it as exempt under levy constitutes a waiver of that exemption. Also, creditors are presumed to know the law and its provisions as to homestead exemptions, and have it within their power to protect themselves by taking such steps as will assure them against loss.***

Necessity of a 'declaration of homestead'

The homestead exemption provisions of a number of states, including Florida, require a homestead claimant to make a legally sufficient 'designation' or 'declaration' of the homestead property before the exemption from creditor claims take effect. Under the provisions of law requiring the selection or designation of the homestead property, there cannot be a homestead right in any specific property until a selection of a homestead has been made, evidenced in writing, and recorded in accordance with certain stringent and specific legal requirements. Ordinarily, however, no selection need be made until there is an execution levied against the homestead claimant's property but it is not recommended to wait until this point for many reasons. Increased costs and time to defend the claim is one of the many reasons not to wait, plus a judgment lien may take priority if filed before the claim depending on the case and circumstances. Mindful of the special affection and protection Florida courts have traditionally bestowed on the homestead, the proper condition of a homesteader who has filed the required affidavit should be one of repose and security in the home, a refuge from the stresses and strains of misfortune. The already enormous costs of defending a claim increase exponentially and there is no reason to delay protection of your most valued asset, your home and its equity. 

Should You File a Homestead Declaration?

The filing of a Homestead Declaration on your residence is one of the least expensive and most effective forms of personal liability protection. The equity in your home can be protected with a properly recorded Homestead Declaration. The main purpose of a homestead exemption is to protect your home equity from creditors. We strongly suggest taking precautionary measures to protect your home and its equity before any creditors or judgments.

Once properly recorded, the homeowner's exemption is permanent until he/she moves to another homestead. The homestead exemption privilege is enacted into the law by the state legislature to give the homeowner certain valuable equity protection rights. The following applies specifically to the state of Florida, but is typical of most states. You should check with the local courthouse, or your legal counsel. 

The filing of a declared homestead does indeed enormously add to the homestead protection that the law provides to all homeowners. While the typical homeowner need not file a declared homestead to enjoy basic homestead tax exemption, homeowners who may be or are in financial trouble, or who expect to be in financial trouble, probably should file a homestead declaration, just to be on the safe side. Anything can happen at a moments notice and you'd already be protected if you have us file your declaration of homestead.

The following are some of the reasons that a homeowner who is or expects to be in financial trouble should file a declared homestead and not rely on the homestead tax exemption:

• The owner who files a declared homestead can choose which of several different residences will be protected. 

• The protection that is provided by a declared homestead will continue to apply to that residence even if the owner becomes deceased. It will not apply to rental properties. If a declared homestead has not been recorded, the homestead protection may be lost if the owner moves, rents or becomes deceased.

• The protection that is provided by a declared homestead will apply to the proceeds of a voluntary sale. If no declared homestead has been recorded, the protection of the owner’s equity in a home may be lost in the event of a voluntary or forced sale, or re-finance of the home. (This means that the proceeds of the voluntary, re-finance or forced sale of the home will go to the judgment creditor or creditors rather than the owner). 

• If a declared homestead has been recorded, the law is clear that the proceeds of sale can be used to purchase another house as a homestead or be used for living expenses until another purchase. 

• Only if a declared homestead has been recorded will the proceeds of a voluntary sale assuredly be protected after they are used to purchase another house; only then will the protection given to the first house be carried over to the second in regards to purchase funds. 

• If a declared homestead has been recorded, the law is clear that the property cannot be forcefully sold to pay any debt, judgment, levy or lien (if not a mortgage, property tax or mechanic’s lien), and can be sold or contracted against within 45 days after filing the declaration and up to 180 days afterwards without any encumbrance or defective title.

• If a declared homestead has been recorded, the law is clear that the home is fully protected unless abandoned. 

Neither the homestead tax exemption nor the declared homestead will protect a homeowner against the loss of his or her home to a secured creditor -- such as the lender who has financed the original purchase, or a lender who extended a second mortgage loan, or to a contractor, subcontractor or laborer who has filed a valid claim of mechanic's lien for improvements to the homestead or to a property tax lien or assessment. The protections of both the declared and tax homesteads, however, extend to most other kinds of creditors and judgment liens. 

Homeowners who are in financial trouble or those who expect that they may encounter financial trouble should immediately contact us for the filing of a homestead declaration. 

Simply contact Florida Homestead Services at 954-252-9111 or e-mail us at


Equity Protected in Amounts up to:
Husband and Wife (filing joint declaration) Unlimited 
Either the Wife or Husband Unlimited 
Single Person that Qualifies as Head of Household Unlimited 
Single Person (over age 65) Unlimited 
Single Person (under age 65) Unlimited 

In order to qualify, the homeowner must intend live on the property that is to be homesteaded coupled with actual use of the property as a sole and primary residence. The recording process, when complete, will give the homeowner-added protection toward the equity, which has built up in the home over recent years. 

1. You may file for a homestead exemption if your home is paid for, or if you are still making payments (i.e., 1st, 2nd, or any number of trust deeds or mortgages). 
2. A homestead will not prevent you from selling your home nor will it prevent you from borrowing money on your home. 
3. If you sell your home, it automatically removes the Homestead Declaration. 
4. If you sell your property after you homestead it, the exempted amount of money you receive from the sale of the property is protected if there is a judgment against you. You have time in which to purchase another residence and file a new Homestead Declaration on it. 
5. A properly filed homestead protects your equity in a home even if you move out of the home and you continue to own it. 
6. A homestead gives protection to a regular home, duplex, condominium, cooperative apartment or planned unit development.

The Homestead Law will not protect you against material/mechanics liens (work done by contractors to improve the real property), property taxes or secured liens such as a mortgage. Always be careful when you are asked to put your home up as security for a loan or installment contract or if there is a waiver provision. 


Why Were Regulations Initiated, Drafted and Adopted by Florida Homestead Services, LLC? 

Rules and Regulations were created and adopted by us (and have subsequently been adopted for the State of California) because some individuals providing homestead services were misrepresenting the need for, or the character of our services. A common misrepresentation is that a recorded declaration of homestead protects against enforcement measures by any and all creditors. In fact, filing a homestead declaration does not protect against creditors whose claims are secured by a mortgage on the property, or against businesses that have a ‘contractor’s’ lien on the property as a result of providing services or improvements, or for non-payment of property taxes and assessments. Also, some unscrupulous individuals conceal the existence of the legal requirements of the homestead asset and equity protection, stating that it is automatic, in order to sell other legal services to those who do not need it. Read these regulations.


These are many good reasons why it is crucial to utilize our services, as our approved, registered and copyrighted declaration forms for the State of Florida are deemed and proven to be legally sufficient and cannot be denied, rebutted or attacked. Forms are not available from the state or the county. Also, do not attempt to utilize other states' generic and 'cookie cutter' forms, as they are not sufficient as a matter of law,  for the State of Florida, and could easily render your designation of homestead claim totally invalid and legally insufficient in court, ultimately leaving you with a legal mess to untangle at great expense and the possible loss of your home and its equity. We handle the entire process from start to finish at no extra costs to you. A flat fee is all we charge, and it is VERY reasonable!

If you're among those folks lucky enough to live in a state that recognizes the Homestead Exemption, like Florida, you'd be wise to get in touch with us right away for complete information about our services and make the claim of homestead now before any legal calamity ensues. Allowing Florida Homestead Services to help you protect your real property and family home is well worth the few dollars and the little time it requires to protect your home, property and your equity. It's a simple step that could save you lot's of money ... and it will definitely save your home, equity and income from future creditors, judgments, levy, liens and lawsuits! 

We at Florida homestead services believe that every homeowner should make the declaration of homestead claim immediately or upon closing or upon purchasing a new home. We can help make your declaration legally sufficient for a minimal fee. We are also a referral service for attorney's who specialize in asset protection and estate planning. If you need help, contact us and we will help you to find the best of the best. Consider it the most inexpensive protection for your real property and its equity. Contact us and claim your homestead today!




Real Property Primary Residence Income - Wages Asset Protection

Homestead Tax Exemption

Protection of Real Property Protection of Income Protection of Retirement
Declaration of Homestead Protection of Equity Protection from Judgments Protection from Code Liens 

Bonded Member-National Notary Association

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We also provide absolutely FREE consultation to answer any of your questions...




Be careful of SCAMMERS on the internet who boast their cookie cutter products for a small price! They are only there to take your hard earned money, they do not to support their product, and they do not have the same outstanding services, they are not licensed to do business in their state or jurisdiction, and they do not have satisfied clients and over 15 years of experience!

[NOTE: Declaration and/or Designation of Homestead forms obtained from the internet HERE, (not a valid Florida Corporation or Entity in addition to being Intellectual property thieves), and created for other states other than Florida may not be legally sufficient for use in Florida. Florida Homestead Services is the only valid licensed and bonded company in the state to provide the types of services that we offer. Also, the Notice of Homestead in the Florida Statute is not legally sufficient if there is not a sales contract pending. DO NOT rely on it for property or equity protection in Florida!]



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