In the interest of helping homeowners avoid losing their primary residence after declaring bankruptcy, states allow property owners to protect a limited amount of equity under "homestead protection" laws. The federal government also provides homestead exemptions, but you can't claim both exemptions. In practical terms, these laws often prevent homes from being forced into a sale to satisfy debts when the homeowner goes bankrupt. Generally, states limit the exemption by acreage, square footage, or property value.
Overview of Oklahoma Homestead Protection Law
Under Oklahoma's homestead law, property owners may exempt up to 1 acre of property in an urban area or 160 acres if it is rural (to help protect farms). It may be in more than one parcel. At least 75 percent of the total square footage claimed must be used as the homeowner's principle residence, and the homestead exemption may not exceed $5,000 if at least 25 percent is used for business purposes.
Additionally, a qualifying disabled veteran (or a surviving spouse) may sell their homestead, acquire another homestead property in the same calendar year and keep their property tax homestead exemption.
See FindLaw's Bankruptcy section for related articles.
|Code Section||Tit. 31 §2|
|Max. Property Value That May Be Designated 'Homestead'||-|
|Maximum Acreage (Urban)||1 acre|
|Maximum Acreage (Rural)||160 acres|
Note: State laws may change at any time, through the enactment of new legislation, decisions by higher courts, or other means. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of these pages, you may want to contact an Oklahoma debtor/creditor law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Brief Overview of Federal Homestead Protections
Oklahoma real estate owners may 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.
Research the Law
Oklahoma Homestead Protection Law: Related Resources
Contact a qualified attorney.