Monday, December 12, 2016
Supreme Court will not hear the appeal from a married couple where each have a Homestead exemption in different states.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Dec. 9, 2016 – The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday declined to hear an appeal of a case that involved a married couple having homestead exemptions in two states. Justices, as is common, did not explain their reasons for turning down the appeal filed by Broward County resident Venice Endsley, who was married to her late husband, Robert, for more than 60 years.
In the 1980s, Venice Endsley signed over her rights to a home in Huntington, Ind., to her husband. In turn, Robert Endsley signed over his rights to a home in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea to his wife. Venice Endsley had a homestead exemption on the Florida home, while her husband received a similar exemption on the Indiana home.
The Broward County property appraiser learned of the arrangement in 2006 and said Venice Endsley was not entitled to a Florida homestead exemption, which resulted in a legal dispute as the court waded into questions about whether state law only barred multiple homestead exemptions in Florida or whether the prohibition also addresses properties in other states.
In its ruling the 4th District Court of Appeal in March sided with the property appraiser, ruling that the Florida Constitution only allowed one homestead exemption to be claimed. A three-judge panel, pointing to a provision in the Florida Constitution, upheld a decision by a Broward County circuit judge, who found that the Endsleys were a "single family unit and could not claim separate homestead exemptions," according to the ruling in March 2016.
"The trial court found that the plain language of the provision meant that only one homestead exemption was allowed, regardless of location. We agree," said the ruling, written by appeals-court Judge Alan Forst and joined by judges Melanie May and Rosemarie Scher. "The meaning of the Constitution's command that 'not more than one exemption shall be allowed any individual or family unit' appears clear on the face of the document."
Attorneys for Venice Endsley then asked the Florida Supreme Court to take up the case. In turning down the request for an appeal, the Supreme Court effectively allows the ruling by the earlier Appeals Court to stand.
Source: News Service of Florida
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