If you file for bankruptcy in Alaska, the homestead exemption protects up to $70,200 worth of equity in your home. Here you’ll find specific information about the homestead exemption in Alaska.
For information about how the homestead exemption works in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, see The Homestead Exemption in Bankruptcy. For more articles on exemptions, see our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.
The Alaska Homestead Exemption Amount
Under the Alaska exemption system, homeowners may exempt up to $70,200 of their home or other property covered by the homestead exemption.
This means that if your home has less than $70,200 worth of equity (value of the property less any mortgages or other liens) then a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee will not be able to sell it to pay your creditors.
Doubling for Married Couples
You are not allowed to double the Alaska homestead exemption. In certain states, married couples who own the property together can double the amount of the homestead exemption in a joint bankruptcy. However, Alaska is not one of those states. However, there may be other advantages to filing a joint bankruptcy. To learn more about joint bankruptcy filings, see Nolo's section on Bankruptcy Options for Married Couples.
The Scope of the Alaska Homestead Exemption
In Alaska the homestead exemption applies to property used as your principal residence. This usually includes real property such as your home or condominium. However, since the exemption does not list specific types of property, it may apply to more as long as it is your principal residence.
If you live in a property that is not a traditional house or condominium, check to make sure that the homestead exemption applies to your property before filing bankruptcy.
Can You Use the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions in Alaska?
In Alaska you can use either the state exemption system or the federal bankruptcy exemption system even though Alaska has laws limiting debtors to Alaska state exemptions. The Ninth Circuit has allowed Alaskans to use the federal exemptions because Alaska has not actually opted out of the federal exemption system despite its laws limiting residents to state exemptions.
The federal bankruptcy homestead exemption amount is $21,625. The exemption may be used for homes, condos, co-ops, mobile homes, and burial plots. Married couples may double this exemption. You can find the federal bankruptcy homestead exemption at 11 U.S.C. §522(d)(1) and (5).
(To learn more about which state exemptions apply to you, see Which Exemptions Can You Use in Bankruptcy?)
In Alaska the homestead exemption is automatic – you don’t have to file a homestead declaration in order to claim the homestead exemption in bankruptcy.
Real Property Held as Tenancy in the Entirety in Alaska
If property is held as a tenancy in the entirety, it means the property is jointly owned by a married couple as a single marital entity, not as individuals. In many states, tenancies in the entirety are exempt from debts owed by only one spouse. However, Alaska does not have any statutes or case law specifically addressing whether a tenancy in the entirety can be used to shield assets from individual debts of one spouse.
Finding the Alaska Homestead Exemption Statute
Alaska’s homestead exemption is found in the Alaska state statutes at Alaska Statutes § 09.38.010 (a). To learn how to find state statutes, check out Nolo’s Laws and Legal Research area.
Periodic Adjustments of Alaska Exemption Amounts
Alaska’s exemption amounts, including the homestead exemption, are periodically updated by administrative regulations. The current amounts and adjustments are listed in Alaska Administrative Code Title 8 § 95.030.