Homestead

Your equity in the house you live in may well be your most valuable asset. You can protect all, or at least a substantial amount of that equity from current and future creditors simply by recording (filing with the County Recorder) a simple form called a “Declaration of Homestead”

Once you have recorded a homestead declaration, you judgement creditors cannot force a sale of your home to pay a judgement against you unless the sale would produce enough money to:

  • pay all existing liens (claims on your property) and
  • pay off mortgages and other loans secured by equity in your house, and
  • let you keep your remaining equity in the house up to the amount protected by the homestead ($50,000 – $100,000, depending on your filing status)

The only exceptions are if the creditor is trying to foreclose on the mortgage on the house itself or a home equity line of credit or other loan for which you have pledged the house as security, or to collect a judgement for back child support, spousal support or taxes. A homestead does not protect your equity in those situations

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