Eleanor* is a senior who lives on a fixed income. She and her mother shared title to their home. In 2012, Eleanor’s mother passed away. Since then, Eleanor was unable to qualify for the full homestead exemption and reduction in property taxes. The Property Appraiser’s office told her that she would not receive the full homestead exemption benefit until her mother’s will was probated. Without this benefit, her property taxes increased. She was at risk of not being able to pay both her property taxes and condominium association assessments on her fixed income, and consequently, faced her home to a tax deed sale or condominium association foreclosure. Eleanor was not aware of the necessity to hire a probate attorney to close her mother’s estate, nor was she aware that she was required to retain the original of her mother’s will and, as such, only had a copy in her possession.
A Broward Lawyers Care (BLC) pro bono attorney accepted Eleanor’s case in February 2018. The attorney helped her file a probate action, a petition to establish and probate a lost or destroyed will, and a petition for summary administration of the estate. The court granted both petitions.
Eleanor is now the sole owner of her home and entitled to the full homestead exemption. Eleanor reports that the Property Appraiser’s office returned about $2,000 that she had overpaid since partially losing the homestead exemption benefit in 2012. She used the money to pay her property taxes for that year and condominium association assessments in order to be able to remain in the home. Thanks to our “No Place Like Home” project, Eleanor has peace of mind knowing that she can permanently remain in her home.
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients.