From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The homestead exemption is a legal regime designed to protect the value of the homes of residents from property taxes, creditors, and circumstances arising from the death of the homeowner spouse. Laws are found in state statutes or constitutional provisions which exist in many states in the United States. The homestead exemption in certain southern states has its legal origins in colonial Spanish exemption laws. Exemption laws in other states were enacted in response to the effects of economic depressions in the 19th century.
Homestead exemption laws typically have four primary features:
- They prevent the forced sale of a home to meet the demands of creditors (however, in most cases homestead exemptions do not apply to forced sales to satisfy mortgages, mechanics liens, or sales to pay property taxes);
- They provide the surviving spouse with shelter;
- They provide an exemption from property taxes which can be applied to a home.
- Allows a tax-exempt homeowner to vote on property tax increases to homeowners over the threshold via bond or millage requests.
For purposes of these statutes, a homestead is the one primary residence of a person, and no other exemption can be claimed on any other property anywhere, even outside the boundaries of the jurisdiction where the exemption is claimed.
In some states, homestead protection is automatic. In many states, however, homeowner will not receive the protections of the law until they file a claim for homestead exemption with the state. Furthermore, the protection can be lost if the homeowner abandons the protected property by taking up primary residence elsewhere.
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