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The dwelling house and its adjoining land where a family resides. Technically, and pursuant to the modern homestead exemption laws, an artificial estate in land, created to protect the possession and enjoyment of the owner against the claims of creditors by preventing the sale of the property for payment of the owner's debts so long as the land is occupied as a home.

Laws exempting the homestead from liability for debts of the owner are strictly of U.S. origin. Under the English Common Law, a homestead right, a personal right to the peaceful, beneficial, and uninterrupted use of the home property free from the claims of creditors, did not exist. Homestead rights exist only through the constitutional and statutory provisions that create them. Nearly every state has enacted such provisions. The earliest ones were enacted in 1839 in the Republic of Texas.

Homestead exemption statutes have been passed to achieve the public policy objective of providing lodgings where the family can peacefully reside irrespective of financial adversities. These laws are predicated on the theory that preservation of the homestead is of greater significance than the payment of debts.

Property tax exemptions, for all or part of the tax, are also available in some states for homesteaded property. Statutory requirements prescribe what must be done to establish a homestead.

A probate homestead is one that the court sets apart out of the estate property for the use of a surviving spouse and the minor children or out of the real estate belonging to the deceased.

A homestead corporation is an enterprise organized for the purpose of acquiring lands in large tracts; paying off encumbrances, charges attached to and binding real property; improving and subdividing tracts into homestead lots or parcels; and distributing them among the shareholders and for the accumulation of a fund for such purposes.


1) n. the house and lot of a homeowner which the head of the household (usually either spouse) can declare in writing to be the principal dwelling of the family, record that declaration of homestead with the County Recorder or Recorder of Deeds and thereby exempt part of its value (based on state statutes) from judgment creditors. A similar exemption is available in bankruptcy without filing a declaration of homestead. 2) v. jargon for filing a declaration of homestead, as in "he homesteaded the property."


noun abode, acreage, acres, country house, domicile, dwelling, dwelling place, edifice, estate, farm, farm land, farmplace, farmstead, grounds, habitation, home, house, household, living quarters, lodging, lodging place, manor, messuage, place of residence, place of settlement, quarters, residence
Associated concepts: homestead laws
See also: abode, building, domicile, dwelling, habitation, home, house, household, land, property, structure


(US) a house and adjoining land designated by the owner as his fixed residence and exempt under the homestead laws from seizure and forced sale for debts.

HOMESTEAD. The place of the house or home place. Homestead farm does not necessarily include all the parcels of land owned by the grantor, though lying and occupied together. This depends upon the intention of the parties when the term is mentioned in a deed, and is to be gathered from the context. 7 N. H. Rep. 241; 15 John. R. 471. See Manor; Mansion.

References in periodicals archive ?
Though Micheaux consistently presented himself, and his central characters, as a lone black man homesteading on the wilderness of the frontier plains, a look at the historical situations of his--and other African Americans'--settling helps to contextualize both his fictions and his ideals.
9) Micheaux remained in South Dakota, farming and growing his landholdings until 1918 when, after over a decade of homesteading, including two years of drought, three self-published novels, and a broken marriage, Micheaux turned his attention to film making and left South Dakota, apparently never to return.
As a booster, though, Micheaux urges African Americans to follow in his footsteps and take up homesteading.
Though Micheaux was quite possibly one of the only African Americans attempting to acquire an allotment from the Rosebud Sioux Reservation, African-American homesteading in the West was by no means a rarity.
In the late 1880s, parts of present-day Oklahoma, then entitled the Unassigned Lands (as the Sac, Fox, Apache, and other tribes had been relocated west to the Oklahoma Territory), opened to homesteading with the famous "land run" in April of 1889.
03 percent) resided in South Dakota in 1900, a full five years before Micheaux arrived there to try his pioneer luck with his savings to purchase a piece of the Western homesteading pie (all figures are from Taylor 135).
In that regard, it covers the most basic of the basics: how to think about homesteading.