As consumer bankruptcy attorneys, we get this question quite often. And yes, FLORIDA uses the word Homestead in two different ways. First, there is a homestead exemption for your real estate taxes, and second, you have constitutional homestead protection.
The first homestead protection is obtained by registering your Homestead with the tax collector so that you can get a break on your Florida real estate taxes. If you miss your deadline to file for the homestead exemption with the tax collector that has nothing to do with your homestead exemption for bankruptcy purposes. You can still file bankruptcy and protect your homestead with no problem. Of course, like everything else that an attorney will tell you, there are exceptions to every rule, but, 99.9% of people will have no problem doing so.
Next, you have homestead for bankruptcy purposes. If a person is filing for bankruptcy protection and they wish to protect the equity in their Homestead, they would claim our constitutional exemption for the equity in their Homestead. Florida is only one of a few states in the United States that allows it’s residents unlimited homestead equity exemption. For bankruptcy purposes, there are some rules which apply but almost all residents of the state of Florida qualify for the unlimited Homestead equity exemption. To be specific, the bankruptcy Homestead equity exemption has absolutely nothing to do with the homestead exemption with the tax collector.
I hope this helps everyone who is having trouble understanding the difference between the two Florida homesteads. At the Dellutri Law Group, we have four consumer bankruptcy attorneys who are on the cutting edge of legal technology, case law and trends. If you, or a loved one needs to speak with a bankruptcy lawyer, please call us for a free strategy session.