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Homestead Exemptions By State With Charts – Is Your Most Valuable Asset Protected? [2020 Update]

homestead exemptions by state

As often noted, a primary residence is the most valuable asset most Americans possess.  Losing a home to creditors or in a bankruptcy case can be devastating.

The homeowner not only suffers the financial setback of losing the wealth built up in the property, but also the emotional toll of being forced to leave home and find a new place to live.

In recognition of the hardships involved in losing a home, legislatures in nearly every state have enacted laws allowing homeowners to shield at least some of the value in their primary residence from the claims of creditors.

Homestead exemptions, as those laws are known, can offer a much-needed reprieve to homeowners facing financial difficulties.  And, when used wisely, homestead laws can be a valuable part of a wealth building strategy emphasizing asset protection.

What are Homestead Exemptions?

Creditor Claims

Homestead laws protect property-owners’ primary residences against creditor claims and insolvency proceedings.

Under state statutes, protected homesteads cannot be attached by creditors up to the statutory exemption amount established by the legislature.

Bankruptcy

In most jurisdictions, homestead exemptions also apply in bankruptcy cases, so a bankruptcy trustee cannot liquidate a protected homestead, up to the amount of the exemption, to pay creditors.

As a result, some or all of the value of a bankruptcy filer’s homestead can survive a bankruptcy case, even after the court has ordered a discharge of debts.

Laws Vary

Homestead laws, and the level of protection they provide, vary substantially between jurisdictions.

A few states, notably including Florida and Texas, offer an unlimited homestead exemption, allowing a homeowner to protect 100% of the value of a primary residence.

In most states, though, the exemption is capped at a prescribed dollar amount, sometimes doubled for married couples.

In states with caps, the permissible exemption amounts can differ drastically.

Massachusetts, for instance, allows at least $500,000 of a primary residence’s value to be held as exempt.

Virginia, on the other hand, limits the exemption to as little as $5,000, and New Jersey provides no state-level homestead exemption at all.

The homestead exemption provided under the federal bankruptcy code’s exemption schedule currently stands at $25,150.

Qualification Requirements

Subject to some state-law definitional distinctions, to qualify as a protected “homestead,” a property must be the debtor’s primary residence and must be located within the borders of the state in which the homestead protection is claimed.

Houses, condominiums, and mobile homes can all be considered “homesteads,” and at least some of the land on which a homestead sits is also usually protected.

“Natural Persons”

Protection under homestead laws is typically limited to “natural persons” who reside in the applicable jurisdiction.

That is, to claim the exemption, the owner of a property must live in-state and must be an individual—not a corporation or LLC.

However, residences owned by revocable living trusts can often be exempted, but only if the trust’s beneficiary would be able to claim the exemption if his or her name was on the deed.

Excluded Debt and Liens

State exemption laws typically exclude certain debts and liens from homestead protection, with the specific categories of excluded debts varying between states.

Mortgages, tax liens, mechanic’s liens, domestic support obligations, and some HOA liens commonly fall outside the scope of homestead protections, as do liens perfected prior to a property’s eligibility as a protected homestead.

Importance of Homestead Laws in Asset Protection.

Because a home is most people’s most significant asset, it naturally follows that a legally sanctioned means of protecting a primary residence is immensely valuable in asset protection.

For a homeowner enduring a difficult financial situation, a primary residence that is exempt from attachment can provide both an economic safety net and a solid foundation to rebuild upon.

Valuable Protection

Even when the homestead exemption is capped under state law and is insufficient to fully protect a property, the homestead exemption still provides valuable financial protection.

California, for instance, caps a single owner’s homestead exemption at $75,000.  If a homeowner’s residence is worth $250,000, a judgment creditor could potentially institute a judicial foreclosure proceeding to foreclose on the judgment lien.

Even if the sale occurs, the property owner would receive the $75,000 exemption amount from the proceeds (before the creditor received anything), and the remainder would be applied toward satisfying the judgment debt.

Good Planning is Necessary

If planned carefully and executed properly, an asset-protection plan can maximize preserved wealth by organizing assets to take full advantage of the applicable homestead exemption.

Under the right circumstances, the gross value of wealth shielded from creditors can be increased by applying liquid assets toward an existing mortgage or toward purchasing or increasing the value of a qualifying homestead.

“Fraudulent Transfers”

Importantly, though, many jurisdictions have laws voiding “fraudulent transfers” designed to evade creditors.

Debtor-friendly Florida will only set aside transfers in very limited circumstances, such as when the acquisition of the homestead in question involved fraud or other criminal conduct.

The standard in many other states is lower, and the federal bankruptcy code allows trustees to challenge transfers of wealth into a homestead if made within ten years of filing with the intent of avoiding creditor claims.

A filer who haphazardly liquidates assets to pay down a mortgage right before filing bankruptcy runs the risk of the transaction being voided by the court (and the money distributed to creditors).

Thus, a plan to use a homestead exemption to maximize protected assets must carefully consider the legal standards of the applicable jurisdiction, ideally with the assistance of experienced counsel.

Minimum Residency Requirement

Notably, the federal bankruptcy code includes a minimum residency requirement of at least forty months.

As a result, a recently purchased property may be immediately protected against judgment creditors but not eligible for state-law homestead exemption for three and one-half years.

Even so, bankruptcy filers who do not yet satisfy the residency requirements can usually still exempt a homestead under the federal exemption schedule.

2020 Homestead Exemption Laws by State

StateCode SectionExemption AmountExemption Features
AlabamaAla. Code §6-10-2$15,000 (doubled for married couples)Exemption applies to interest in property used as primary residence by owner, including mobile homes.

Exemption carries over to surviving spouse for life and surviving minor children during period of minority.

Exemptible lot size limited to 160 acres.
Alaska
AK. Stat. §09.38.10$72,900Exemption applies to primary residence of owner or dependent of owner. $54,000 statutory exemption periodically adjusted per CPI. AK. Stat. §09.38.115.

Co-owners can each claim exemption, but total exemption cannot exceed $74,900.

Owner of homestead property sold at judicial sale has right to redeem within 60 days after sale.
ArizonaA.R.S. §33-1101$150,000Exemption applies to structure used as primary residence, including dwelling place and attached land, condominium, co-op, or mobile home.

Exemption amount is for single person or married couple’s interest in homestead. Total exempt amount in one homestead cannot exceed $150,000.

Proceeds of sale of homestead protected by exemption for up to 18 months or until a new homestead is acquired.
ArkansasAR. Code §16-66-210; Ark. Const. Art 9, §3UnlimitedHomestead exemption applies to real or personal property used as primary residence by owner who is head of household or married.

Unlimited exemption applies to land up to 80 acres outside city or town and up to ¼ acre within city. Additional acreage protected up to $2,500.

Mortgages, mechanic’s liens, tax liens, and liens in existence prior to qualification as homestead are excluded from homestead protection.
CaliforniaCal. Civ. Pro. §704.710$75,000 - $175,000Exemption applies to real estate, personal property including mobile home or boat, interest in co-op or condo used as primary residence.

$175,000 exemption allowed for owner over age 65, disabled, or over age 55 with income below $25,000 ($35,000 for married couples).

$100,000 exemption if household of owner living in homestead includes non-owner family member.

$75,000 exemption for other owners.
ColoradoCo. Stat. §38-41-201, et. seq.$75,000 - $105,000Exemption applies to real or personal property, including mobile homes, used as primary residence by owner or family, and attached land.

$105,000 exemption applies if resident owner (or spouse or dependent) is over age 60 or disabled.

Surviving spouse or minor children of deceased owner can claim homestead exemption for decedent’s residence.

Proceeds of insurance policy covering homestead property are exempt up to amount of applicable homestead exemption.
ConnecticutCt. Gen. Stat. §52-352b$75,000 (doubled for married couples)Exemption increased to $125,000 when creditor claim is judgment arising from hospital treatment.

Value of homestead based on fair market value minus amount of any mortgage or other lawful liens.

Exemption includes mobile homes, condominiums, co-ops, as long as used as primary residence.
Delaware10 Del. Code §4914(c)$125,000Exemption protects equity in real estate or manufactured home used as primary residence up to $125,000.
FloridaFla. Stat. §§196.031, 222.001; Fla. Const. Art. X, §4UnlimitedProtected homestead limited to ½ acre within city or town or 160 acres if outside city or town.

Owner must have resided in homestead at least 40 months to claim exemption in bankruptcy. Exemption against creditor claims commences when homestead becomes permanent residence.

Voluntary mortgages, mechanic’s liens, tax liens, and liens in existence prior to qualification as homestead are excluded from homestead protection.
GeorgiaO.C.G.A. §§44-13-1, 44-13-100$21,500 (doubled for married couples)Exemption extends to real estate, including land and dwelling place, or personal property used as homestead.

Purchase-money mortgages, mechanic’s liens, tax liens, and liens in existence prior to qualification as homestead are excluded from homestead protection.
HawaiiHaw. Stat. §651-92$20,000Exemption increased to $30,000 if owner is the head of a family or over age 64.

Voluntary mortgages, mechanic’s liens, tax liens, and liens in existence prior to commencement of owner’s residency are excluded from homestead protection.
IdahoID Code §§55-1001, 1003$100,000Exemption includes dwelling house or mobile home, along with any land on which homestead is situated (regardless of size). Mobile home can be exempt even if not permanently affixed to land.

Unimproved land may be exempted if owner has actual intent to build home or place mobile home on land as residence.

Exemption amount applied to fair market value minus amount of any liens.
Illinois735 ILCS 5/12-901, 906$15,000 (doubled for married couples or co-owners)Exemption extends to farm, land and improvements, condominium, interest in co-op, or personal property used as primary residence.

Proceeds of sale of homestead remain exempt for one year after sale.
IndianaInd. Code §34-55-10-2$19,300 (doubled for married couples)Exemption applies to real estate or personal property used as primary residence by owner or by owner’s dependent.

Non-homestead real estate can be held as exempt up to $8,000.
IowaIowa Code §561.1UnlimitedProtected homestead limited to ½ acre within city or town or 40 acres if outside city or town. Contiguous land included within exemption if considered in good faith as part of homestead.

Voluntary mortgages, mechanic’s liens, tax liens, and debts in existence prior to commencement of owner’s residency are excluded from homestead protection.

Prior debts may only be satisfied from homestead after other owner property has been exhausted.
KansasKS Stat. §60-2301.UnlimitedProtected homestead limited to 1 acre within city or town or 160 acres if outside city or town.

Exemption extends to home, mobile home, or manufactured home occupied by owner or by family of owner.

Owner must have resided in homestead at least 40 months to claim exemption in bankruptcy.

Voluntary mortgages, mechanic’s liens, and tax liens are excluded from homestead protection.
KentuckyKy. Stat. 427.060$5,000Exemption applies to real estate or personal property used as primary residence by owner.

Mortgages, tax liens, and debts that pre-date owner’s acquisition of homestead are not subject to exemption.
LouisianaLa. Stat. §20:1;
La. Const. Art. 12:9.
$35,000

Protected homestead limited to 5 acres within municipality or 200 acres if outside municipality.

Exemption extends to surviving spouse and minor children of owner.

Exemption extends to full value of property if debt subject to execution arises from catastrophic or terminal injury or illness creating uninsured obligations exceeding $10,000 and 50% of adjusted gross income.

Mortgages, mechanic’s liens, tax liens, and debts arising from criminal conduct are excluded from homestead protection.
Maine14 M.R.S. §4422$47,500 - $95,000Exemption applies to real or personal property or interest in co-op used as primary residence by owner or dependent of owner.

Exemption increased to $95,000 if minor dependents of owner live in homestead with owner.

Exemption increased to $95,000 if owner is age 60+ or permanently disabled.

Exemption inapplicable to debts arising from torts other than simple negligence.

Exemption extends to proceeds of sale of homestead for six months following sale.
MarylandMd. Jud. Pro. Code §11-504.$22,975

$22,975 exemption limited to bankruptcy cases.

Exemption applies to real property, condominium, or interest in co-op used as primary residence by owner.

Property owned by spouses in tenancy by the entireties is exempt against creditor with claim against only one spouse. MD Est & Trusts Code § 14.5-511.
Massachusetts188 Mass. Gen. Law §1, et. seq.$500,000Exemption applies to equity in dwelling structure and attached land, condominium, manufactured home, or interest in co-op, if used as owner’s primary residence.

Proceeds of sale of homestead are exempt until earlier of one year from sale or date owner acquires a new homestead. Proceeds of insurance policy covering homestead are exempt for earlier of two years or date upon which owner acquires a new homestead.

Written and recorded declaration of homestead required for maximum $500,00 exemption. Amount can be doubled for co-owners if elderly or disabled.

“Automatic homestead exemption” up to $125,000 arises absent written, recorded declaration.

Mortgages, mechanic’s liens, tax liens, liens recorded prior to qualification as “homestead,” domestic support obligations, and judgments arising from fraud are excluded from homestead protection.
MichiganMich. Comp. Laws §§600.5451; 600.6023$30,000 (Bk.)

$3,500 (creditors)
Exemption applies to real estate, mobile home, condo, or boat used as primary residence; along with single real estate lot if homestead is within a municipality or 40 acres outside town.

Bankruptcy exemption can be increased to $45,000 if owner is age 65+ or disabled.

Homestead exemption is limited to $3,500 for judgment executions by creditors.
MinnesotaMinn. Stat. §510.01 - .02.$420,000Exemption can be increased to $1,050,000 if primary use of homesteaded property is agricultural.

Exemption limited to 1 acre within municipality or 160 acres outside town.

Mortgages, tax liens, mechanics liens, and domestic support obligations are excluded from homestead protection.

Exemption extends to proceeds from sale of homestead for one year following sale, except with regard to domestic support obligations.
MississippiMS Code §85-3-21, et. seq.$75,000Exemption extends to land on which homestead is located up to 160 acres and to insurance proceeds for damage to homestead.

Exemption amount limited to $30,000 if homestead is mobile home on land not owned by debtor.

Home value is reduced by amount of any existing liens prior to applying exemption.


Owners over 60 can claim homestead exemption for property no longer used as primary residence if owner could previously claim exemption.

Mortgages, tax liens, mechanics liens, and judgments arising from forfeited bail bonds or labor performed are excluded from homestead protection.
MissouriMO Stat. §513.475, et. seq.

Mo. Stat. §513.430
$15,000Exemption applies to structure used as primary residence, land where homestead located, and any appurtenant buildings on lot.

Exemption amount is reduced to $5,000 when residence is mobile home on land not owned by debtor.

Owner may choose portion of homestead to which exemption applies if total value exceeds exemption amount.

Exemption does not apply to claims in existence at time of acquisition of homestead.
MontanaMt. Code §70-32-104$250,000Exemption applies to real property or mobile home used as primary residence, along with any connected land.

Owner must execute and record declaration of homestead to claim exemption
NebraskaNeb. Stat. §§40-101 – 40-108.$60,000Exemption applies to dwelling house used as primary residence, land where homestead located, and any appurtenant buildings on lot.

Exemption limited to 2 lots within municipality or 160 acres outside town.

Proceeds from sale of homestead protected up to six months following sale.

Mortgages (executed by both spouses if owner is married), tax liens, and mechanics liens are excluded from homestead protection.
NevadaN.R.S. §§21.090, 115.005, et. seq.$605,000Exemption applies to equity in real estate, mobile home, condo, or co-op interest used as primary residence; along with land where homestead located.

Mortgages, tax liens, mechanics liens, and HOA liens are excluded from homestead protection.

Owner must execute and record declaration of homestead to claim exemption.

Proceeds from sale of homestead protected up to 180 days following sale if proceeds reinvested in property which will also be a homestead.
New HampshireN.H. Code §480:1 - 9.$120,000Exemption applies to dwelling structure including manufactured home.

Exemption extends to surviving spouse for life upon death of owner.

Mortgages, tax liens, mechanics liens, and HOA liens are excluded from homestead protection.


Protected homestead may be owned by beneficiary of revocable trust.
New JerseyNone$0

$25,150 in Bk if claiming federal exemptions.
New Jersey law does not provide a homestead exemption against creditor claims. New Jersey bankruptcy filers have the option of using the federal exemptions, including the federal homestead exemption.

Property owned by spouses in tenancy by the entireties cannot be attached by creditor with claim against only one spouse.
New MexicoNM Stat. §42-10-9.$60,000
(doubled for co-owners)
Exemption applies to dwelling house and land or dwelling owned by debtor situated on land owned by someone else.

Debtor without homestead may instead exempt up to $5,000 of other real or personal property.

Mortgages, tax liens, mechanics liens, and liens recorded by lessors are excluded from homestead protection.
New York N.Y.C.L., §5206.$85,400 - $170,825 Exemption applies to home and attached land, interest in co-op, condominium or apartment, and mobile homes.

Allowable exemption amount varies based on county: $170,825 (Kings, Queens, New York, Bronx, Richmond, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Westchester and Putnam); $142,350 (Dutchess, Albany, Columbia, Orange, Saratoga and Ulster); $85,400 (all other counties).

Exemption amount applies to value after deducting liens and encumbrances.


Mortgages, tax liens, mechanics liens, and judgments wholly derived from purchase price of homestead are excluded from homestead protection.

Exemption extends to surviving spouse and minor children of deceased owner.
North CarolinaN.C. Gen. Stat. §1C-1601; N.C. Const. Art. X, §2.$35,000 (doubled for spouses filing jointly)Exemption applies to real and personal property, or interest in co-op, used as primary residence by owner or dependent.

Amount increased to $60,000 if owner is age 65+, unmarried, and previously owned property with deceased co-owner.

Up to $5,000 in unused value of homestead exemption may be applied toward any other personal property.
North DakotaN.D. Code §§47-18-01, 28-22-02$100,000Exemption applies to land where claimant resides, including dwelling house and any appurtenances. Land can include more than one tract, as long as contiguous.

Proceeds from sale of homestead are protected by exemption for one year following sale.

Exemption amount applies to value above any existing liens and encumbrances.

Mortgages and judgments for purchase money of homestead, tax liens, and mechanics liens are excluded from homestead protection.
OhioOhio Code §2329.66$145,425 (doubled for spouses filing jointly)Exemption applies to real and personal property, or interest in co-op, used as primary residence by owner or dependent.

Statutory exemption amount is $125,000, periodically adjusted for inflation.

Mortgages and judgments for purchase money of homestead, tax liens, and mechanics liens are excluded from homestead protection.
Oklahoma31 Okla. Stat. §2UnlimitedExemption extends to land up to 1 acre in municipality or 160 acres outside of town.

Mortgages and judgments for purchase money of homestead, tax liens, and mechanics liens are excluded from homestead protection.

At least 75% of square footage of improvements must be used as residence for unlimited exemption of homestead property. Otherwise, exemption is limited to $5,000.
OregonORS §18.395, et. seq.$40,000Exemption applies to “actual abode” of owner, owner’s spouse, or owner’s parent or child, including “floating” or manufactured home.

Proceeds of sale of homestead are included within the exemption for one year if held with intent to acquire another homestead.

Mortgages and purchase-money liens, tax liens, mechanics liens, and domestic support obligations are excluded from homestead protection.


Exemption applies to land up to 1 acre in municipality or 160 acres outside of town.

Amount can be increased to $50,000 if more than one member of household hold interest subject to attachment.
PennsylvaniaNone$0

$25,150 in Bk if claiming federal exemptions.
Pennsylvania law does not provide a homestead exemption against creditor claims. Pennsylvania bankruptcy filers have the option of using the federal exemptions, including the federal homestead exemption.

Property owned by spouses in tenancy by the entireties cannot be attached by creditor with claim against only one spouse.
Rhode IslandR.I. Gen. Laws §9-26-4.1.$500,000Exemption applies to real or personal property used as primary residence by owner or by beneficiary of qualifying trust.

Mortgages and purchase-money liens, tax and utility liens, mechanics liens, domestic support obligations, and debts in existence prior to acquisition of homestead are excluded from homestead protection.
South CarolinaS.C. Code §15-41-30$59,100 (doubled for co-owners both claiming exemption)

Exemption applies to real and personal property, condominium, interest in co-op used as primary residence by owner.

Surviving spouse of deceased owner is protected by exemption.

Statutory exemption amount is $50,000, adjusted every two years based on CPI.
South DakotaS.D.C.L. §43-45-1, et. seq.UnlimitedExemption applies to land up to 1 acre in municipality or 160 acres outside of town.

Surviving spouse and minor children of deceased owner are protected by exemption.

Proceeds from sale of homestead up to $60,000 exempt for one year following sale.

Purchase-money liens and mechanics liens are excluded from homestead protection.
TennesseeTenn. Code §26-2-301$5,000 ($7,500 for joint owners and spouses)Exemption applies to real and personal property used as primary residence by owner or owner’s spouse or dependents.

Exemption increased to $12,500 for owner age 62+ with spouse below age 62; or $20,000 if both spouses are age 62+; or $25,000 if owner has custody of one or more minor children.

Surviving spouse and minor children of deceased owner are protected by exemption as long as property used as primary residence.

Mortgages and purchase-money liens, tax liens, mechanics liens, and debts under contract secured by homestead and waiving exemption are excluded from homestead protection.
TexasTex. Const. Art. XVI, § 50, 51; Tex. Prop. Code §§ 41.001, et. seq.UnlimitedOwner can be individual or beneficiary of qualifying trust.

Exemption applies to land up to 10 acres in municipality or 100 acres outside of town (200 if owner resides in homestead with family).

Mortgages and liens securing refinances, reverse mortgages, voluntary liens, tax liens, and mechanics liens are excluded from homestead protection.
UtahUtah Code §78B-5-503$30,000 (doubled for married couples)Exemption applies to real and personal property used by owner as primary residence and up to 1 acre of attached land.

Mortgages and purchase-money liens, tax liens, domestic support obligations, and consensual liens are excluded from homestead protection.

Proceeds from sale of homestead exempt for up to one year following sale.
Vermont27 Vt. Stat. §101, et. seq.$125,000Exemption applies to dwelling house, appurtenances, and attached land used by owner as primary residence and up to 1 acre of attached land.

Exemption extends to surviving spouse of deceased owner as long as property used as primary residence.

Mortgages and purchase-money liens, tax liens, and debts in existence when homestead acquired are excluded from homestead protection.
VirginiaVa. Code §34-4$5,000 (doubled for married couples)Exemption increased by $500 for each dependent of owner.

Exemption increased to $10,000 if owner is age 65+.

Mortgages and purchase-money liens, tax liens, and domestic support obligations are excluded from exemption.
WashingtonR.C.W. §6.13.010, et. seq.$125,000Exemption applies to real and personal property used by owner as primary residence. Dwelling house or mobile home can be “homestead” if owner has good-faith intent to use as primary residence in future.

Exemption attaches to property automatically if owner currently using as primary residence. If not yet residing within property, owner can claim exemption by recording Declaration of Homestead.

Exemption applies to proceeds from insurance policy covering homestead or from sale of homestead for one year following sale.

Mortgages and debts secured by security agreements signed by both spouses or unmarried owner, tax liens, mechanic’s liens, HOA liens, state Medicaid liens, and domestic support obligations are excluded from homestead protection.
West VirginiaW.Va. Code §38-10-4; §38-9-1, et. seq.$25,000 (in Bk; doubled for married couples)

$5,000 (creditor claims)


Exemption applies to property used as primary home of owner, spouse, or dependent. Bankruptcy exemption applies to real or personal property, or interest in co-op, used as primary home of owner or dependent.

Mortgages and purchase-money debts, tax liens, mechanic’s liens, are excluded from homestead protection.


Creditor exemption increased to $7,500 for debts arising from catastrophic injury or illness.

Minor children of deceased owner are protected by exemption until age 21.
WisconsinWisc. Stat. §815.20; 990.01$75,000
(doubled for married couple)


Exemption applies to dwelling, including building, condominium, mobile home, manufactured home, trailer, or co-op, with land necessary to use as residence (not more than 40 acres).

Mortgages and purchase-money liens, tax liens, and mechanic’s liens are excluded from homestead exemption.

Exemption applies to proceeds from sale of homestead for two years following sale.
WyomingWy. Stat. §1-20-101.$20,000 (doubled for co-owners if both reside in homestead)Exemption applies to house, mobile home, trailer, and attached land used as primary residence of owner or owner’s family.

Exemption protects against debts, contracts, or civil obligations entered into or incurred by owner.

Surviving spouse or minor children of deceased owner are protected by exemption.
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