If you file for bankruptcy in Missouri, the Missouri homestead exemption protects up to $15,000 of the equity in your home. Here you’ll find specific information about the homestead exemption in Missouri.
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 Missouri Homestead Exemption Amount
Under the Missouri exemption system, homeowners may exempt up to $15,000 of their home or other property covered by the homestead exemption. If the home is a mobile home, the exemption is limited to $5,000.
Doubling for Married Couples
While some states allow married couples to double their exemption on jointly-owned property if they file bankruptcy together, Missouri law does not permit joint property owners to double their exemptions. Therefore, the exemption is limited to $15,000 total for a home or $5,000 for a mobile home. However, if a married couple owns property together as tenants by the entirety, the entire value of the home is exempt to the extent that the couple's debts are not joint (see below).
The Scope of the Missouri Homestead Exemption
In Missouri, the $5,000 homestead exemption applies to a mobile home that the debtor uses as a residence but that is not sitting on or attached to property the debtor owns.
The $15,000 homestead exemption applies to a dwelling house and any appurtenances, plus the land on which the dwelling is situated.
The exemption also includes any rents or proceeds from the property.
Can You Use the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions in Missouri?
Some states allow bankruptcy filers to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions instead of the state exemptions. Missouri is not one of those states. If you reside in Missouri 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 Missouri, 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 Missouri
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. Property held as tenants by the entirety in Missouri is fully exempt, but only to the extent that the property owners do not have any joint debts.
Finding the Missouri Homestead Exemption Statute
Missouri’s homestead exemption is found in the Missouri state statutes at Mo. Rev. Stat. 513-475 and Mo. Rev. Stat. 513-430. You can find the Missouri state statutes on the website of the Missouri General Assembly at www.moga.mo.gov. To learn how to find state statutes, check out Nolo’s Laws and Legal Research area.