In the interest of preventing struggling property owners from losing their primary residences, states offer what are known as homestead protection laws. Specifically, these laws allow individuals to declare a certain portion of their equity as exempt from creditors. From a practical standpoint, this means creditors may not seize properties during bankruptcy if homestead exemptions are claimed. States limit the amount that may be exempted by acreage, property value, or a combination of the two, sometimes allowing for a much greater exemption of rural properties. The federal government also offers homestead protections, but property owners may not use both exemptions.
Brief Overview of Rhode Island Homestead Protection Laws
Rhode Island allows bankrupt homeowners to claim up to $500,000 worth of their property (based on equity) as a "homestead," which means it may not be seized by creditors. The state also has an additional "wildcard" exemption that covers up to $6,500 worth of other assets, which may also be applied to the home exemption. Yet another state exemption allows bankrupt individuals to protect one burial plot from creditors.
See FindLaw's Bankruptcy section for related articles.
|Code Section||9-26-4, 4.1|
|Max. Property Value That May Be Designated 'Homestead'||$500,000 for home or other covered property; additional "wildcard" exemption of up to $6,500 may be claimed for the protection of any other assets (and may be added onto the home exemption)
|Extra Exemption for Married Couples?||No|
|Maximum Acreage (Urban)||n/a|
|Maximum Acreage (Rural)||n/a|
Note: State laws may change at any time through a variety of methods, usually when newly signed laws are enacted or after precedent-setting higher court rulings. While we strive to ensure the accuracy of these pages, you also may want to contact a Rhode Island bankruptcy attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Federal Homestead Exemptions at a Glance
Rhode Island has a very generous $500,000 limit on homestead exemptions, significantly more than the federal exemption amount of $22,975 (current as of 2015). Additionally, the federal exemption may be applied to burial plots and mobile homes as well as homes. Married couples may double this exemption to $45,950, but New Rhode Island still allows a higher limit than the federal government (and you may not claim both exemptions).
Research the Law
Rhode Island Homestead Laws: Related Resources
Contact a qualified attorney.