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Related to homesteads: Homesteads Act


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 ?
In addition to Florida state courts, bankruptcy courts have also weighed in on the application of the exceptions to the homestead exemption.
The issue before the bankruptcy court was whether the exceptions to the homestead exemption required that the fraud or the egregious conduct be committed by the homeowner claiming the exemption.
However, in both Fishbein and Financial Federated, fraud had been committed to procure the funds used to acquire or pay off the mortgage on the homestead. In Fishbein, the Florida Supreme Court allowed the bank an equitable lien against the homestead under the doctrine of equitable subrogation since the bank's mortgage, which had been obtained by fraud, had been used to satisfy the prior liens against the home.
In addition, in Financial Federated, the funds used to purchase the debtor and nondebtor's homestead were broker commissions derived from the procurement of investors in a Ponzi scheme.
Neither Fishbein nor Financial Federated considered the question of whether a debtor that passively receives fraudulent transfers and uses them to invest in, purchase, or improve the homestead constitutes the required fraud or the egregious conduct sufficient to impose an equitable lien or constructive trust on the homestead.
In Havoco, the Florida Supreme Court made clear that the imposition of an equitable lien or constructive trust on the homestead requires that the funds be obtained through fraud or egregious conduct and be used to invest in, purchase, or improve the homestead.
constitutional developments of the homestead right after 1889 in
(8) The state constitutional framework for homestead laws,
homestead laws in a state constitutional context as interpreted by the
Homestead rights secure a family's shelter against financial
Secondly, homestead rights aim to shelter the marital relationship
without the other, can neither mortgage nor convey the homestead. (15)