Equitable Liens On Florida Homesteads

Equitable Liens - Florida Homestead - Boca Raton, Florida Equitable Lien and Fraud Litigation Attorney.

When you are the victim of fraudulent conduct, is it possible to obtain an equitable lien on the fraudsters homestead in Florida?  The answer is sometimes.  Florida courts will impose an equitable lien on homestead when the wronged party can establish that the fraudsters have used fraudulently obtained funds to invest in, purchase or improve a homestead. 

The rule in Florida that a homestead cannot be employed as an instrumentality of fraud has been restated by the Supreme Court of Florida in numerous cases to impose an equitable lien against homestead property.  Once an equitable lien is imposed, the property can be sold and the proceeds applied in favor of the lien holder. 

In order to obtain an equitable lien on Florida homestead, a plaintiff must establish by a preponderance of the evidence: (1) the existence of fraudulent or egregious conduct, and (2) the tracing of funds from that conduct to the purchase or improvement of the homestead.  Where tracing funds is involved, a dollar for dollar accounting is not required, but the party challenging the homestead exemption has the burden of proving his case by a preponderance of the evidence.

It is important to note that the commingling of fraudulent obtained funds with legitimately obtained funds does not defeat a claim for an equitable lien.  However, Florida courts have created certain presumptions for tracing commingled funds.  First, courts apply the "lowest intermediate balance rule," which presumes that the person who controls the commingled funds will first dissipate his own funds, rather than those that were fraudulent obtained  Second, courts apply the replenishment rule, which presumes that when funds are replenished in a commingled account, the person who controls the commingled funds will first replenish any fraudulent obtained funds.

Please keep in mind that this information is being provided for educational purposes only.  It is not designed to be complete in all material respects.  If you have any questions relative to the contents of this post, please feel free to contact us.

Contact Us:

With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of elder abuse, exploitation and securities law, our firm provides all of our clients with the personal service they deserve. Handling cases worth $25,000 or more, we represent clients throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as for foreign individuals that invested in U.S. banks or brokerage firms. Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

At the Boca Raton Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Central Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.