Not that many need another reason to move to beautiful South Florida, but the legalization of same-sex marriage does open the doors to benefits that same-sex couples did not have before. Same-sex married couples can now change the way their property is deeded, which may not be the right move for every couple facing this decision, but there are some undeniable benefits. It’s definitely worth looking into and speaking to an attorney about.
The difference is, that now same-sex married couples have the option of becoming “tenants by entireties,” instead of “joint tenants with the rights of survivorship.” The difference between the two is more apparent in the event of the death of a spouse. The process for transferring the property to the surviving spouse becomes automatic. It also prevents the homestead raise of property value upon the transfer to the surviving spouse, which results in tax-related savings.
Additionally, by filing the deed as tenants by entireties, the homestead is further protected if a judgment is obtained against one of the spouses.
As stated earlier, this may not be the right decision for everyone. Unmarried couples are legally able to claim separate homestead exemptions. This results in lowered property taxes if each person claims the home as their primary residence. Legally married couples do not have this option.
If you’re already residing in Florida, you still have some time to do more research and determine if this is the right move for your household. Same-sex married couples have until January 1, 2016 to make the decision, since same-sex marriage didn’t become legal until the beginning of 2015. If you have more questions on this subject, please feel free to contact us, the Jack Elkins team. We will be glad to help in any way we can, including directing you to an estate or trust attorney.