If you reside in Mississippi and file for bankruptcy, the Mississippi homestead exemption allows you to protect some of the equity in your home. Read on to get specific information about the homestead exemption in Mississippi.
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 Mississippi exemption system, homeowners may exempt up to $75,000 of their home (property they own and occupy) or other property covered by the homestead exemption. The homestead exemption is limited to 160 acres.
If you are over the age of 60 and you are either married or widowed, you can exempt property you own but no longer live in if you did live there at one time.
If you are 70 years or older, Mississippi allows you to protect $50,000 of any type of property, personal or real. You can double this if you are married and filing a joint bankruptcy. You can add this wildcard exemption to the homestead exemption and protect up to $125,000 worth of equity in your home. You could use this $50,000 to protect equity in nonresidential property as well. (Learn more in The Mississippi Wildcard Exemption in Bankruptcy.)
Married couples filing a joint bankruptcy can double this exemption only if each spouse lives in a separate residence (essentially each spouse gets to exempt $75,000 in the home he or she lives in). However, if the married couple is living in the same home (which covers the vast majority of cases), the homestead exemption is limited to $75,000.
In Mississippi the homestead exemption applies to real property, including your home or condominium. However, the exemption does not apply to a mobile home unless you also own the land on which the mobile home sits.
The exemption also includes proceeds from the sale of your homestead.
Some states allow bankruptcy filers to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions instead of the state exemptions. Mississippi is not one of those states. If you reside in Mississippi 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 Mississippi, you may 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, but it is not required. Contact your county recorder for information on how to file a homestead declaration.
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 Mississippi, property held as tenants by the entirety may be fully exempt; however, the matter is not settled. If you own property this way, it might be wise to consult with a local bankruptcy attorney.
Mississippi’s homestead exemption is found in the Mississippi state statutes at Miss. Code Ann. § 85-3-1 and Miss. Code Ann. § 85-3-21 . To learn how to find state statutes, check out Nolo’s Laws and Legal Research area.