State homestead protection laws are intended to help struggling homeowners avoid losing their primary residence when seeking bankruptcy protection by declaring a portion of their property a "homestead." Additionally, the federal government also has homestead exemptions for property owners who declare bankruptcy, but you must choose either state or federal homestead protection (not both). Basically, homestead laws prevent homes from being forced into a sale to satisfy debts when the homeowner goes bankrupt, as long as the exemption is for one's primary residence. States limit the exemption amount by acreage and/or equity amount, usually providing a larger exemption limit for rural properties.
Homestead Protection Law in Arkansas: The Basics
Arkansas' homestead law originates from the state's constitution, but also is encoded in statute. The state allows a maximum exemption amount of $2,500 of one's equity, with a maximum of one acre (1/4 acre minimum) for urban properties and 160 acres if rural.
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|Code Section||16-66-210; Const. Art. IX, §4, §5|
|Max. Property Value That May Be Designated 'Homestead'||$2,500. All homesteads less than $1,000 assessed valuation are exempt from all state taxes referred to in art. XVI, §18 of Ark. Constitution. If homestead's value exceeds $1,000, exemption shall apply to first $1,000 of valuation (CONST. amend. XXII §1).|
|Maximum Acreage (Urban)||1 acre but not less than 1/4 acre|
|Maximum Acreage (Rural)||Cannot exceed 160 acres, will not be reduced to less than 80 acres.|
Note: State laws are not etched in stone and may change at any time, usually through the enactment of new legislation but also through court decisions and other means. You may want to contact an Arkansas debtor/creditor attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Federal Homestead Protections: A Brief Summary
Since Arkansas imposes a $2,500 limit, property owners may choose the federal homestead exemption instead. The federal exemption amount of $22,975 (current as of 2015) may be applied to burial plots and mobile homes as well as homes. Additionally, married couples may double this exemption to $45,950. But keep in mind that federal law requires a 40-month residency prior to declaring this exemption..
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Arkansas Homestead Protection Laws: Related Resources
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