Tampa Asset Protection Lawyer
The legal process of asset protection allows people to structure their assets, such as real estate, investments, and businesses in such a way that it makes it much more difficult for creditors to collect on them. Florida law provides significant protections to residents for a variety of different assets, so if you have questions about your own property, it is critical to retain an experienced Tampa asset protection lawyer who can help you plan your estate.
Florida Homestead Exemption
Florida’s Constitution states that real property classified as a homestead is exempt from forced sale in order to satisfy creditors. However, this protection only applies to homesteads that are:
- Located outside of a municipality and 160 acres or less in size; or
- Located within a municipality and no more than one-half acre in size.
To ensure that his or her property qualifies as a homestead, a person must:
- Intend to permanently reside in the state;
- Have legal or beneficial title in equity to the real property on January 1st;
- Reside on the property; and
- In good faith, make the property his or her permanent residence.
Generally, Florida law also requires that a residence be owned by an actual person and not an entity, such as a company. However, if the homestead is owned by a revocable trust it will be treated as though it were owned by a person.
There are three major exceptions to the homestead exemption rule, as a result of which, a forced sale will be permitted in order to enforce:
- Payment of taxes and assessments on the land;
- Obligations contracted for the purchase, improvement, or repair of the property; and
- Obligations contracted for the house, field, or other labor.
Other Asset Protection Strategies
Florida law also protects additional assets from creditors, including:
- The proceeds of life insurance policies unless the policy or a valid assignment provides otherwise;
- The cash surrender value of life insurance policies insuring Florida residents and the proceeds of an annuity contract if issued to a Florida resident;
- Money or other assets payable from a qualified retirement or profit-sharing plan;
- Assets reserved in a medical savings account or college trust fund; and
- Real property held as tenants by the entirety, which means that it is owned by a husband and wife, unless the creditor is a creditor of both parties.
Florida offers unique protections to residents who wish to shelter their assets. To learn more about how you can take advantage of these protections, please call an experienced Tampa asset protection lawyer today.
Contact an Experienced Tampa Asset Protection Lawyer
Often, people do not begin to think about asset protection until it is too late and a creditor has already filed a lawsuit in court. Taking steps ahead of time can save a family from financial ruin, so if you are a Florida resident, please contact the legal team at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. by calling (813) 963-7735 and we’ll help you set up a consultation with a knowledgeable Tampa asset protection lawyer who can explain your legal options.