The prospect of unmanageable debt is always scary. Some people have lost their life savings and even family fortunes to bad business deals or excessive lifestyles. But Tennesseans should not be afraid of losing their homes in a debt settlement or bankruptcy proceeding, because the Volunteer State is one of several that has homestead laws.
What is the homestead law?
This section of Tennessee's state code allows homeowners to designate a section of their real estate as a homestead or sole residence. This makes that section ineligible for seizure in a bankruptcy proceeding or other debt intervention.
How much land can someone call a homestead?
Some states with homestead laws, like Florida, set limits based on the area of land. Tennessee makes homestead exemptions based on the value of land. Property owners may designate land up to $5,000 in value as a homestead. That value may rise to $7,500 if more than one debtor may be involved. The value is usually taken from the most recent tax assessment of the property's jurisdiction.
Are there other protections for older homeowners?
The exemptions may be higher for Tennesseans over the age of 62. Single seniors may claim up to $12,500 in value for a homestead, and married couples with both partners over 62 years old may claim up to $25,000 in value.
What is the best protection from losing real estate?
The homestead law is as inviolable as Tennessee law gets, and the protection of legal representation can help make sure it applies. Legal questions about real estate are often best answered by an attorney.