Florida’s Generous Homestead Exemption

Florida’s homestead exemption is a unique and powerful legal provision that offers homeowners significant protections and benefits. Designed to safeguard the primary residence of Florida residents, this exemption can shield a home from creditors. However, the nuances of how this exemption applies, especially in cases involving the transfer of non-exempt assets to a homestead to protect them from creditors, can be complex and intriguing.

Under the Florida Constitution, a person’s homestead is protected from forced sale by creditors. This means that, as long as the property qualifies as a homestead, it cannot be seized or sold to satisfy most debts. Exceptions include obligations such as property taxes, mortgages, and mechanics’ liens.

One of the more controversial and legally nuanced aspects of Florida’s homestead exemption is its application in cases where non-exempt assets are transferred to a homestead with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud creditors. Florida law allows homeowners to convert non-exempt assets (e.g., cash, investments, proceeds from the sale of a non-homestead property) into an exempt homestead without losing the creditor protection provided by the homestead exemption. This means that if a person uses non-exempt funds to purchase or improve their homestead, those funds become protected under the exemption. Florida courts have generally upheld the homestead exemption even in cases where the transfer has been made with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud a creditor. In Havoco of America, Ltd. v. Hill, 790 So. 2d 1018 (Fla. 2001), the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the homestead exemption could protect a home from creditors even if non-exempt funds were used to purchase the homestead with the specific intent to shield assets from creditors. The court emphasized that the Florida Constitution provides robust protections for the homestead, regardless of the homeowner’s intent.


For homeowners, the homestead exemption offers a significant tool for asset protection. It allows individuals to safeguard their most valuable asset – their home – from most creditors, even if they are facing financial difficulties. For creditors, the homestead exemption presents a substantial hurdle. While there are avenues to challenge fraudulent transfers, the burden of proof is high, and the protections afforded by the Florida Constitution are robust.

Homeowners should be aware of the protections provided by Florida’s homestead exemption and the potential legal complexities, while creditors must navigate the challenges posed by these robust homeowner rights. Understanding the full scope and implications of the homestead exemption is crucial for anyone involved in financial planning, asset protection, or debt collection in Florida. By staying informed, individuals can make strategic decisions to protect their homes and financial futures.

If you would like to talk to an attorney, contact Attorney Evelyn J. Pabon Figueroa at (407) 647-7887 or epabonfigueroa@pcc.law.

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