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Virginia Homestead Laws

The past few years have served as a harsh reminder that economic change can occur virtually overnight -- and have devastating consequences that affect all segments of society. Homestead protection laws are intended to prevent people from being kicked out of their homes in the event of a drastic change in economic stature. State and federal homestead laws generally help protect some or all of the equity in homeowners’ primary residence from creditors, by allowing them to declare a portion of their real estate as a "homestead." Homestead protection laws are generally used in the context of bankruptcies or actions on the part of creditors.

Some states allow residents to choose between the state and federal bankruptcy exemptions (or require use of the federal exemptions). However, Virginia requires residents seeking homestead exemptions to use Virginia’s specific state exemption laws. Virginia homestead laws allow residents to designate up to $5,000 worth of real estate (including mobile homes) as a homestead, plus $500 for each dependent. If a resident is sixty-five years of age or older, or a married couples files for an exemption together, up to $10,000 may be exempted under the homestead laws.

Note that you must file a homestead declaration before filing for bankruptcy, in order to take advantage of Virginia’s homestead exemption.

General information about Virginia homestead laws is listed below. See Bankruptcy Exemptions: Chapter 7 to learn more about homestead protections and other exemptions.

Code Section

34-4

Max. Property Value That May Be Designated 'Homestead'

$5,000 plus if support dependent, then $500 for each dependent

Maximum Acreage (Urban)

-

Maximum Acreage (Rural)

-

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Virginia real estate attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

More Information

For more information on Virginia’s state homestead laws, click on the links below to access additional related resources. You can also learn more about this topic, in general, by checking out FindLaw’s sections covering real estate law and bankruptcy. Finally, because the ownership of your home may be at stake, consider consulting with a lawyer to discuss the legal options that protect you and your family’s best interests.

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