State Homestead Protection Laws in General
Under state homestead laws, property owners may protect a limited amount of equity in their home based on the state limits on what may be declared a "homestead." These laws often protect homes from being forced into a sale during a bankruptcy proceeding. When a homeowner files for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the homestead law exempts up to a certain amount of equity (as long as it's more than the remaining balance on the mortgage).
Typically, states with homestead protection laws limit the exemption by acreage, square footage, or property value.
Missouri Homestead Laws at a Glance
Missouri homestead law allows for a $15,000 exemption, which is applicable to "a dwelling house and appurtenances, and the land used in connection therewith." In other words, the state's homestead law is limited to homes, corresponding buildings, and the land on which they stand. Some states extend these protections to other types of property beyond real estate.
The statute makes it clear that the total exemption amount of $15,000 may not be exceeded under any circumstances. For example, two co-owners of a property (such as two spouses) may claim homestead protection of up to $15,000 combined. Also, if one co-owner claims homestead protection, another co-owner may not sell the property.
Federal Homestead Protections
Missouri real estate owners may elect to choose the federal homestead exemption instead of (but not in addition to) state homestead protections. The federal exemption amount is $22,975 (as of 2013) and may be applied to burial plots and mobile homes as well as houses and condos. Additionally, married couples may double this exemption to $45,950.
However, keep in mind that federal law requires a 40-month residency in the property prior to declaring homestead protection. Any previous property owned in the state, if sale proceeds were used to purchase the current property, count toward this requirement.
Below you will find additional details about Missouri homestead law, with a link to the code section and links to related sources. See FindLaw's Bankruptcy section to learn more.
|Max. Property Value That May Be Designated 'Homestead'||$15,000|
|Maximum Acreage (Urban)||-|
|Maximum Acreage (Rural)||-|
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Missouri debtor / creditor attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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