Homestead laws exist to help prevent people from losing their homes and other personal property in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Texas property owners are afforded certain legal protection against seizure of their homestead in qualifying cases. These laws, which are well known to experienced real estate lawyers, protect homeowners against loss of their property from a forced sale brought about by creditors. Homeowners seeking such protection must understand the stipulations and expulsions that apply to Texas Homestead Laws before assuming they are covered.
Following are some basic guidelines regarding how these laws can help people, although law firms that are experienced in handling residential real estate can assist individuals facing the potential loss of their home.
What Are The Texas Homestead Laws?
According to the lawyers who handle real estate issues, Texas Homestead Laws state that a family or individual’s homestead is protected from seizure or forced sale to pay for outstanding debts brought to the courts. The exceptions to this include: cases of owed taxes or tax liens; mortgages or home loans in default, or as part of a divorce settlement.
What Qualifies as A Homestead?
A homestead in this case consists of urban or rural property. Law firms that extensively handle residential real estate legal concerns say there is no limit on value, although there are limits on property size based on whether it is considered urban or rural. An urban homestead may be a home or a business and is limited to a total of 10 acres, while a rural homestead can be as large as 100 acres for one person or 200 acres for a family. Personal property also includes certain, specific items deemed relevant to the running of a family, farm, or other business, worth up to $30,000 per individual or $60,000 per family.
Experienced real estate attorneys state that distinctions are made based on property type, as well as family or individual homesteads, to determine qualification for the exemption and how much land is covered by the exemption. With rural property, the individual or family must reside on a portion of the property and use the remainder to support the family. Urban homesteads must be used by an individual or family as a home or for a business that supports them – or both.
Homestead laws pertain to permanent structures and residences on these properties but not anything of a non-permanent type such as mobile homes. A homestead can also be assumed through ownership of land if there is intent to build and establish a residence or a business. Homestead laws have certain qualifying requirements, which can be problematic if a judgment is placed on a property due to debts incurred by the owner. Property owners with questions about qualifying property should seek the services of real estate lawyers who specialize in homestead laws.
The Complexity of Protective Homestead Laws
Texas homestead laws can prevent a property owner from losing their home or property, which is of great significance to anyone facing such a loss. Although qualified properties are exempt from seizure due to the owner’s failure to pay debts, it must be understood that this exemption does not extend to all debts.
It is essential that an owner of a homestead property understand that while protection within the state of Texas may exist regarding debt and bankruptcy, federal laws may still apply. In such cases, experienced real estate lawyers can help property owners sort through the details involving the extent of their protection and how to maximize it using trusts, planned land use, and more.
Property owners in need of information about how homestead laws apply or find themselves facing some sort of judgment against their property should consult with a residential real estate law firm. Texas homestead laws are very detailed and must be correctly interpreted, so finding real estate attorneys to help with that task is important!