South Dakota Homestead Laws

The homestead has a storied place in America. During the nineteenth century, a series of Homestead Acts encouraged people to move westward in order to settle and cultivate land. Later, economic hardship and a desire to protect farmers and property owners led to modern homestead laws.

These laws allow homeowners to protect a specified amount of property from creditors in order to preserve a family home or residence. Acreage or value limitations, the nature of the protections, and other details differ from state to state -- sometimes considerably. Here’s a summary of South Dakota law.

South Dakota: Homestead Laws

South Dakota’s homestead laws allow families to protect their homes in times of economic hardship. Bankruptcy, litigation, and indebtedness can lead to court-ordered property sales, judgment liens, and other legal processes. Homestead laws provide an exemption for the family home.  Residents above the age of sixty nine can also shield property valued at $170,000 from being sold to pay off (state) taxes.

Homestead laws are meant to protect a family residence. Accordingly, exempted property must cover the owner’s home. There’s also a size limitation of one acre inside an urban area and 160 acres in rural areas. Separate acreage limits exist for mineral lands. Should an owner of homestead-exempt property die, the exemption will pass to a surviving spouse, children, or as otherwise directed by the laws of succession.

The following table provides a summary of some of the major provisions of South Dakota's homestead exemption.

Code Sections 43-31-1, et seq.
Maximum Property Value That May Be Designated as Homestead -
Maximum Acreage (Urban)

1 acre; mineral lands: 1 acre.

Maximum Acreage (Rural) 160 acres; mineral lands: 40 acres placer claim; 5 acres lode mining.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through a combination of legislation, higher court decisions, and other methods. You should contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Related Resources for Homestead Laws

A dizzying web of protections, exempt property, limitation amounts, and procedures exist in bankruptcy law and state laws related to debt. You can find an overview of bankruptcy and some bankruptcy frequently asked questions on these pages. There’s also a bankruptcy section containing additional articles and resources. Speaking with a local bankruptcy attorney can also provide answers to your specific circumstances.

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