About a month ago, this space discussed the concept of exempt property in the context of Florida estate administration. To refresh, certain property will be considered exempt from creditors when there is a surviving spouse or children of the testator. While this is an important concept during the probate and administration process, it also can make a difference in certain situations where administration of the estate may not be necessary.
About a month ago, this blog touched briefly on the fact that a recent case in one of Florida's appellate districts had pointed out the fact that settlement agreements during probate cases should be specific in what representations the parties relied on in coming to the agreement. As you may recall, the reason for this is that oral representations made during the settlement process are not admissible later if they are determined to be incorrect, as probate settlement negotiations are privileged in Florida.
As many Florida residents may know, the state has some unique laws when it comes to what is known in law as homestead property. While these laws are complicated and somewhat arcane, the basic idea is that a person's primary residence, if owned, is immune to certain actions and taxes that would otherwise apply to real estate. For the purposes of estate planning, this takes the form of a state constitutional requirement that homestead property is not devisable when there is a surviving spouse or minor children.
We have previously touched on various types of trusts in this space, and what some potential advantages of their use may be in the service of a comprehensive Florida Estate plan. This week, we are going to briefly discuss a type of trust instrument that is almost exclusive to Florida. Only two states in the U.S. have created a statutory form of trust called a land trust.