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​Complex Florida Homestead Planning

A Quarles & Brady client (an unmarried Florida resident) with a terminal condition and only months left to live disclosed that he had fathered a child out of wedlock and that the child was still a minor. Through a series of court proceedings and agreements with the child’s mother, our client had accepted financial responsibility for the child. Our client also had two adult children, who were sole beneficiaries of his estate plan. As our client had long since qualified his primary residence for the homestead protection afforded under Florida law, his death would result in the property being divided into equal shares for each of his children (because of the existence of the minor child). With the property valued at approximately $2 million, this would defeat our client's current estate planning objectives. Our team prepared a new Florida limited liability company to own and manage the property, and he transferred his primary residence to the new LLC, which eliminated the property's qualification as a homestead. The client was able to leave the home (through the LLC) to his two grown children and to leave a bequest to his minor child in excess of his court-mandated obligation.