The Florida Supreme Court recently ruled that under certain conditions, the proceeds from selling your homestead property are protected from unsecured creditors (creditors other than mortgagors, mechanic’s liens, homeowner association fees, property taxes). The ruling should benefit empty-nesters and others in debt who have refrained from downsizing out of concern that the proceeds would be vulnerable to creditors.
Protection from unsecured creditors requires that these conditions be met:
- The sale proceeds must be specifically designated for the purpose of buying new homestead property.
- The proceeds must be kept separate and not co-mingled with any other funds.
- New homestead property must be purchased within a reasonable period of time (although the court did not specifically define what is “reasonable”).
You can read the original Florida Supreme Court ruling in JBK Associates Inc. v. Sill Bros. here.