Temporary Visa Did Not Bar Homestead Status [Florida]


Favio came to the U.S. in 2005 after a kidnapping attempt against his son in Venezuela. He rented an apartment, and lived there with his son (a U.S. citizen), and his wife. He then purchased an apartment in 2006 and lived there with his family until his death in 2009.

Favio had borrowed $500,000 from Eric and Carla. When Favio died, they filed a claim against Favio’s estate to be repaid. Favio’s estate claimed the apartment was homestead property, and thus could not be reached by Eric and Carla to repay the debt. Presumably, Favio did not have other assets to fully satisfy the debt.

The probate court reviewed numerous cases that provided that an individual in Florida on a temporary visa could not form the requisite intent to make a residence a “permanent residence” so as to qualify for homestead protection against creditors. The court found that since Favio did not have the right to stay here on a permanent basis (he did not have a green card admitting him as a lawful permanent residence nor was he a U.S. citizen), the property was not homestead property.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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