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What’s a Homestead Exemption?

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Wondering about what homestead exemptions are? (See Steve Duin’s column in May 15th, 2008 Oregonian, Sleeping dogs and the Berkman trial.)

Note: Exemptions generally, in the context of debtor-creditor law (bankruptcy, debt collection, etc.) can get very tricky, so if you are more than curious, i.e. you are looking your creditors in the eye or over your shoulder, please consult a legal professional for advice.

1) Wikipedia, Homestead Exemption

2) For Oregon, visit the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) and use the index to find the section you need.

3) If you need to survey all 50 states, start here. Or, check your own state’s statutes from, e.g., Findlaw’s Official State Codes link.

4) Or, start with the Oregon State Bar overview. Excerpt:

“If two or more members of a household are judgment debtors, each person is entitled to claim these exemptions in the same or different property. A judgment debtor’s government benefits are normally totally exempt from execution. There is also an Oregon exemption (sometimes call the “Homestead Exemption”) available for the equity a person has in their residence if the residence is located within the state of Oregon.
The exemption amounts for different types of residences (for example, mobile homes on a rented pad, a mobile home on owned real property, or a traditional residence built on a foundation) vary depending on the type of residence you have, and are complex. You may want to consult with an attorney to determine what exemption value (if any) you have in your home or other property when faced with a judgment or the need to file bankruptcy.

In most cases, the judgment amount must exceed $3,000 before a judgment creditor can force the sale of a judgment debtor’s residence (the judgment remains a lien on the property, however)….” (full article here)