In bankruptcy, a homestead exemption protects equity in your home. Here you’ll find specific information about the homestead exemption in Idaho.
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.
Under the Idaho exemption system, homeowners may exempt up to $100,000 of their home or other property covered by the homestead exemption. This means that if you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can protect up to $100,000 of equity in your home.
If you have more than $100,000 worth of equity in your house, then you risk the trustee selling the house to pay your creditors. However, before any distribution is made to your creditors, the trustee would have to pay you your exemption amount of $100,000 from the sale proceeds.
Idaho does not allow married couples to double the amount of the homestead exemption. In certain states, the homestead exemption is doubled for married couples filing a joint bankruptcy. However, in Idaho you cannot double the homestead exemption.
(There may be other advantages to filing a joint bankruptcy. To learn more , see Nolo's section on Bankruptcy Options for Married Couples.)
In Idaho the homestead exemption applies to real property, including your home, condominium, or a mobile home. You don’t have to occupy the property to claim the exemption. However, if you don’t occupy the property, you have to record a homestead declaration before you can take advantage of the homestead exemption.
The homestead exemption also applies to sale proceeds from the sale of the property. However, the homestead exemption can only be used to exempt the sale proceeds during the six month period after the sale.
Some states allow bankruptcy filers to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions instead of the state exemptions. Idaho is not one of those states. If you reside in Idaho you must use the state exemptions.
(To learn more about which state exemptions apply to you, see Which Exemptions Can You Use in Bankruptcy?)
In Idaho the homestead exemption is automatic – you don’t have to file a homestead declaration in order to claim the homestead exemption in bankruptcy if you occupy the property.
However, if you don’t yet occupy the property, you must file a homestead declaration (a form filed with the county recorder’s office to put on record your right to a homestead exemption) before you file for bankruptcy in order to claim the homestead exemption. Contact your county recorder for information on how to file a homestead declaration.
Idaho bankruptcy exemption amounts are adjusted periodically to account for inflation. This means that the current Idaho homestead exemption of $100,000 is also subject to change in the future.