In 2007, Attorney Jeffrey A. Baskies presented to the Florida Bar several compelling issues regarding the new homestead life estate trap influenced by increased property taxes and insurance costs for the surviving spouse. Section 732.401, Florida Statutes (2007) lacked any language in the statute providing surviving spouses with an option to vacate their life estate in the homestead. A surviving spouse was stuck with the homestead and burdened by the ever increasing taxes and insurance, special taxes or assessments, and extraordinary repairs. Asset protection is required by the tenant in a life estate or it is considered “waste.”
In 2007, there was no clear language on how to split the proceeds of the sale of the homestead property. By 2010, there was some relief provided to the surviving spouse with the newly adopted section 732.401(2), Florida Statutes that added language in the statute to provide the surviving spouse the election in lieu of a life estate.
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