Becoming a Florida Resident and the Homestead Protection law
Throughout the US, people who have current or potential future legal problems are interested in moving to Florida to become Florida residents in order to take advantage of Florida's homestead protection and Florida's numerous and generous asset protection laws. Protection of a Florida homestead, which must be your primary sole residence, is effective immediately upon becoming a bonafide resident and upon filing a Declaration of Domicile. After purchasing a Florida homestead and moving one's personal belongings into the homestead so that it becomes a primary residence, the homestead is immediately protected from creditors as long as other facts and circumstances show the bonafide intent to make the new homestead a permanent home and the intent to remain there is coupled with actual use of the homestead real property.
There is no waiting period before Florida's homestead protection law takes effect in order to fully protect a resident's home equity and assets against unsecured creditors. It is never too late to move to Florida and become a bonafide resident in order to obtain legal protection from civil liability. Even after a court judgment is filed against you in another state (a foreign judgment), one may legally become a Florida resident and protect any money and any amount of equity which is invested in a Florida homestead property. There are no penalties as a matter of law for moving to the State of Florida and claiming permanent residency when one is being sued in another state, or moving to the State of Florida and claiming permanent residency when one has a civil judgment or lien against them in another state.
In order to protect equity or any amount of money placed into a Florida homestead property, by Florida law one must become a Florida resident. If you own property or buy real estate in another state and reside in Florida, you cannot protect that real estate under Florida's homestead laws. Moving to Florida involves severing any residency ties to the state where you moved from such as voter's registrations, driver's licenses, etc.
As a Florida resident, you can purchase or rent a primary and sole residence in Florida and take other steps to search for another home elsewhere while becoming a Florida resident and qualifying based on the principles enumerated herein. Requirements for Florida residency are explained elsewhere on this website, but may also include the factors enumerated below in Florida Statute 196.015;
(1) A formal declaration of domicile by the applicant recorded in the public records of the county in which the exemption is being sought.
(2) Evidence of the location where the applicant's dependent children are registered for school.
(3) The place of employment of the applicant.
(4) The previous permanent residency by the applicant in a state other than Florida or in another country and the date non-Florida residency was terminated.
(5) Proof of voter registration in this state with the voter information card address of the applicant, or other official correspondence from the supervisor of elections providing proof of voter registration, matching the address of the physical location where the exemption is being sought.
(6) A valid Florida driver's license issued under s. 322.18 or a valid Florida identification card issued under s. 322.051 and evidence of relinquishment of driver's licenses from any other states.
(7) Issuance of a Florida license tag on any motor vehicle owned by the applicant.
(8) The address as listed on federal income tax returns filed by the applicant.
(9) The location where the applicant's bank statements and checking accounts are registered.
(10) Proof of payment for utilities at the property for which permanent residency is being claimed.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at Florida Homestead Services.com
. We are happy to help!