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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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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."

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


(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.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
We also are looking toward the day they are old enough to learn the skills of homesteading and be excited about learning.
We are seeing a new surge of interest in homesteading as people recognize the security and satisfaction of becoming more self-reliant, and as they also discover the joy of a deep connection to nature, to the land, and to the food and shelter it provides.
By sharing responsibilities and costs, and by creating opportunities for employment and friendship, homesteading can be a great lifestyle choice for more people in the future.
In most places in America, it is unfortunately no longer true that "you can do what you want with your own land." Many practices that you perhaps assume to be a necessary part of homesteading might be restricted or prohibited by private covenants or government zoning and permits.
We wrote it in a loving and earnest effort to help out those folks just considering a move to homesteading, and to enhance the lives of those already doing it.
from home businesses to old tools that have been revived for modern homesteading to new tools ...
The campaign offers a comprehensive and customizable start-up homesteading plans -- house, garden, livestock and landscape that ensure food security in every household.
A celebration of the homesteading lifestyle, "991/2 Homesteading Poems: A Backyard Guide to Raising Creatures, Growing Opportunity, and Cultivating Community" speaks the universal truths home gardeners and animal caregivers share.
In barnyards and backyards, on rooftops and in alleyways, a development called the modern homesteading movement is happening.
Building on her previous scholarship on farming and marriage policy on the Canadian prairies, Sarah Carter has written a bold new history of homesteading in western Canada that will be of interest not only to Canadian historians but also to scholars of gender and colonialism worldwide.
Chesman introduces the book simply by extolling the virtues of homesteading: saved money, glorious bounty, better food, self-sufficiency, community, a compelling sense of accomplishment and self-worth, greater variety, and a smaller carbon footprint.