O.J. Simpson & Florida’s Asset Protection Benefits After Death

When you hear of asset protection, you typically think of how it can benefit you and your family during your lifetimes. However, Florida offers distinct advantages during life, but also for the smooth transfer of wealth to your loved ones after you pass away. By way of example, we will be looking at the asset protection strategy used by O.J. Simpson, who recently died on April 10, 2004. Below are a few of Florida’s asset protection benefits after death and why they matter:

Homestead Protection[1]

Florida boasts some of the most robust homestead protection laws. As discussed in our recent video, after the $26 million civil judgment was rendered against him for the wrongful deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, O.J. Simpson purchased an expensive home in Miami. His strategy in purchasing the mansion was to ensure that the money invested in the home would be exempt from Browns’ or Goldmans’ attempts to collect on their judgment. Florida’s laws protect your primary residence from most creditors, which means it is available to your heirs even in the face of financial challenges.

To qualify for Florida’s homestead exemption, you must be a permanent legal resident. If the homeowner dies, the homestead exemption can typically transfer to the surviving spouse or dependent. Additionally, creditors cannot force the sale of the homestead to satisfy debts, with certain exceptions such as mortgages. Therefore, it is critical to work with an experienced attorney to seek the necessary court order establishing the homestead in order to receive this extensive protection.

Probate Avoidance

Probate is a time-consuming and costly process, which often results in delays in the distribution of assets to your heirs. However, Florida provides several ways for you to avoid probate entirely, or at a minimum, simplify the process. For instance, assets held in a trust can bypass the probate process, saving time and money for your beneficiaries. It is critical to note that for people like O.J. Simpson, many asset protection strategies, like trusts, are not available or effective after you have a creditor or debt.

Creditor Protection

Florida’s asset protection laws safeguard certain types of assets from your creditors, even after death. Examples of assets that pass outside of probate and are protected from creditor’s claims include life insurance policies[2], retirement accounts[3], and college savings plans like Florida’s Prepaid Education Plan and 529.[4] O.J. Simpson has a defined retirement plan from the NFL, valued at over $4 million, which is protected from collection efforts by the Brown and Goldman families.

If an asset does not have a named beneficiary, right of survivorship, or exemption under the law, it must pass through probate to change ownership. Depending on the size and value of the deceased’s estate, the court will authorize a formal administration (comprehensive process supervised by the court) or a summary administration (faster process for smaller estates). Probate distributes the deceased person’s assets to pay debts, including probate fees and taxes, and transfers ownership to the beneficiaries as determined by a will or under the law. Paying the claims of creditors is part of the probate process, but Florida has a two (2) year statute of limitations for most debts. Creditors failing to timely file a claim against the estate are barred.


Asset protection in Florida offers enhanced privacy for individuals and their families. In fact, while some states require the public disclosure of the full contents of the decedent’s estate during probate proceedings, Florida does not require public disclosure. This confidentiality can be particularly valuable for high-net-worth individuals or families with complex relationships who prefer to have privacy regarding their financial affairs.

Take Advantage of Florida’s Asset Protection Benefits

Florida offers a range of asset protection strategies that benefit you during your lifetime and after death. The state’s laws provide a highly effective means for preserving your wealth, while ensuring its efficient transfer to future generations. By implementing thoughtful estate planning, you can enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that your assets are safeguarded and can transfer smoothly to your loved ones. If O.J. Simpson can find protection from creditors, so can you!

Work with a Florida Asset Protection Lawyer Today

As Florida asset protection lawyers, we have assisted hundreds of clients, from medical doctors to business owners to real estate developers, protect their assets from judgment creditors and lawsuits. We understand that wealth accumulated over a lifetime can be quickly and irrevocably lost in lawsuits filed by creditors and the debt collection laws they use to attack clients’ assets. If O.J. Simpson can find protection from creditors, so can you!

Contact our offices today by calling (954) 884-8373 or filling out our contact form online. Schedule a time to meet with a Florida asset protection lawyer and talk to us about your overall asset protection needs. Together, we can develop a strategy that is best designed to protect your assets should a lawsuit occur in the future.

[1] Fla. Const. art. X, §4

[2] Fla. Stat. §222.14

[3] Fla. Stat. §222.21

[4] Fla. Stat. §732.402(2)(c)


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