Recently, the Florida Legislature amended Florida Statute 732.401, commonly known as the Homestead Statute. This change will affect many thousands of Floridians with respect to probate administration and trust administration, especially when someone who has a homestead in Florida passes away. The law states, "...if the decedent is survived by a spouse and one or more descendants, the surviving spouse shall take a life estate in the homestead, with a vested remainder to the descendants in being at the time of the decedent's death..." The legislature allowed this provision to remain, but it amended the statute to give the surviving spouse the option of accepting this life estate OR choosing to elect to take an undivided one-half interest in the homestead, with the decedent's descendants receiving the other undivided one-half interest.
This change may greatly appeal to a surviving spouse and the descendants. Having a tenancy in common interest rather than a life estate interest makes valuing the respective interests and allocating the property-related expenses much easier and clearer. This new change in the law also allows the surviving spouse the option of partitioning the homestead and dividing the sale proceeds between the survivor and the descendants - an option that is not available to someone who has a life estate!
If you are interested in taking advantage of this recent change in the law, please feel free to contact the Law Office of Conrad Willkomm, P.A. Take advantage of our free consultation!"