Do You Qualify For A Homestead Exemption?
An “exemption” protects property from being seized by a creditor who is attempting to collect a judgment. An exemption can be created by federal law, and if the property is in Virginia, the exemption can arise under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. One exemption available to Virginia residents is the Virginia Homestead exemption. The exemption is sometimes called a wildcard exemption because it applies to many types of property. Every householder is entitled, in addition to the property or estate exempt under §§ 23-38.81, 34-26, 34-27, 34-29, and 64.2-311, to hold exempt from creditor process arising out of a debt, real and personal property (including cash, bank accounts, and mobile homes), not exceeding $5,000 in value or, if the householder is 65 years of age or older, not exceeding $10,000 in value. If you own a personal residence, you can exempt up to $25,000. In addition, upon a showing that a householder supports dependents (including foster children, adult children with special needs, and elderly parents), the householder shall be entitled to hold exempt additional property of $500 in value for each dependent. Married couples are often permitted to combine their homestead exemptions to protect marital property, but only one spouse can claim the extra dependent exemption.
You are not required to file bankruptcy to claim the exemption. You can file a claim of exemption in state court without filing bankruptcy.
If you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and the equity in your property is over the exemption limit, it can be sold by the trustee toward your standing debts. If you have sufficient income and have equity in your home, you should ask a lawyer about a Chapter 13 repayment bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 will typically allow you to keep the majority of your assets.
A professional educated in financial law, like myself, can advise you of your options and improve your chances of a successful bankruptcy petition.
If you have questions about the Virginia homestead exemption or any other aspect of bankruptcy, and you live in Virginia, call me at (540) 366-8665.
Different rules apply in bankruptcy. Outside of bankruptcy, in order to secure the benefit of the homestead exemptions, the householder, by a writing signed by him and duly admitted to record, shall declare his intention to claim such benefit and select and set apart the property to be held by the householder as exempt, and describe the same with reasonable certainty, affixing to the description his cash valuation of the property so selected and set apart. The following form, or one which is substantially similar, shall be used:
Name of Householder ………… (last name capitalized and underlined)
Name of title holder of record (if different) …………
Is the householder a disabled veteran entitled to claim the additional exemption under § 34-4.1? __ Yes __ No
Address of Householder …………
Name(s) and age(s) of dependent(s) …………
County/city/state in which real property claimed as exempt is located …………
Description of property claimed as exempt …………
Value of property described above …………
Number of homestead deeds that have been filed by the Householder …………
Exemption amount previously claimed on prior homestead deeds …………
List the jurisdictions where previous homestead deeds were filed ………………..
This homestead deed is executed and sealed on this February 23, 2015.
STATE OF VIRGINIA
CITY / COUNTY OF _______________, to wit:
I, __________________, do hereby certify that the foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me on Monday, February 23, 2015, by __________.
My commission expires: _________________ Notary No.: __________
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