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Court Upholds Homestead Exemption Restriction

In the 1980’s, Venice Endsley signed over her rights to a home in Indiana to her husband. In turn, he signed over his rights to a home in Lauderdale-by-the-Seas to his wife. She had a homestead exemption on the Florida home, while her husband had the same on the home in Indiana. The Broward County Property Appraiser learned of the arrangement, which led to an appeals court ruling that Venice Endsley was not entitled to receive the Florida homestead exemption. The court questioned whether state law only barred multiple homestead exemptions (sited) in Florida, or whether the prohibition also addresses properties in other states. A three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal, pointing to a provision in the Florida Constitution, upheld a decision by a Broward County Judge, who found that the Endsley’s were a “single family unit and could not claim separate homestead exemptions.” The trial court found that the plain language of the provision meant that only one homestead exemption was allowed, (in Florida) regardless of another home’s location.

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