The Georgia Homestead Exemption is something that most people have heard about but few really understand. It is basically a legal way to protect some of the value of your home from taxes and creditors. Homestead exemption laws usually have four parts:
- They prevent your home from being sold to pay off creditors as in a bankruptcy.
- If one spouse were to die, it gives the surviving spouse shelter
- They reduce the amount you have to pay toward taxes so you can apply it to the home.
- It lets a tax exempt homeowner vote on property tax increases
Under the Georgia Homeowners Exemption, you can exempt up to ten thousand dollars off your home or any other property that is covered by the exemption. So, if you owned a house worth 100,000 dollars and you owed a 90,000 dollar mortgage, it means you have ten thousand dollars of home equity. If you were to file for bankruptcy then the Homestead Exemption would fully cover that equity and your creditors would not be able to touch it.
It is possible to increase the Homestead Exemption coverage even further but you have to fulfill certain criteria. You must:
- Be married
- File for your bankruptcy jointly
- Own the property jointly
If you qualify then your coverage will go up to twenty thousand dollars of equity.
There are a few differences in the way Georgia handles its Homestead Exemption that are not found in other states. For instance:
- You can't use the federal bankruptcy exemptions. If you live in Georgia then you have to use the state exemptions.
- You do not have to file a homestead declaration to get the exemption. In Georgia the Homestead Exemption is automatic.
If you have any questions about the Georgia Homestead Exemption, contact one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys to set up a free consultation.