Florida’s Constitution provisions in regard to homestead can at times override a disposition of real property that is otherwise provided for in a decedent’s estate planning documents. A recent Florida case illustrates a point that many not be aware of.
In the case, the decedent never resided in a residence he purchased. However, his wife and daughter lived in the home before he died. When the decedent died, the wife claimed the residence was decedent’s homestead, and thus she was entitled to a life estate in it (an interest that she would not have received under the decedent’s dispositive documents if the property was not “homestead” property).
The court confirmed that the subject property was homestead property, even though the decedent never lived in it. This was based on language in the Florida Constitution that limited a homestead to “the residence of the owner or the owner's family.”
BAYVIEW LOAN SERVICING, LLC, Appellant, v. NIVIA GIBLIN, Appellee. 4th District. Case No. 4D08-1117. April 29, 2009