April 5, 2017
In bankruptcy, a homestead exemption protects equity in your home. In South Carolina, the homestead exemption allows you to protect up to $59,100 of your home equity. Read on to learn more about the South Carolina homestead exemption.
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 South Carolina exemption system, homeowners may exempt up to $59,100 of their home or other property covered by the homestead exemption.
South Carolina allows married debtors filing a joint bankruptcy to double the homestead exemption, so you and your spouse can protect up to $118,200 of value in your home (as long as each has an ownership interest in the residence).
In South Carolina, the homestead exemption applies to real and personal property that you or your dependents use as a residence, including your home, condominium, co-op, or mobile home. You may also use the South Carolina homestead exemption to protect a burial plot purchased for yourself or your dependents.
Some states allow bankruptcy filers to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions instead of the state exemptions. South Carolina is not one of those states. If you reside in South Carolina, you must use the state exemptions (S.C. Code Ann. § 15-41-35).
(To learn more about which state exemptions apply to you, see Which Exemptions Can You Use in Bankruptcy?)
In South Carolina, the homestead exemption is automatic. You don’t have to file a homestead declaration in order to claim the homestead exemption in bankruptcy.
In South Carolina, if you use part of, but not all of, the homestead exemption, you may use up to $5,900 of the remaining amount to protect any other property you own (S.C. Code Ann. § 15-41-30(A)(7)).
If you do not use the homestead exemption at all, you can also protect an additional $5,900 of your cash or liquid assets (S.C. Code Ann. § 15-41-30(A)(5))
South Carolina’s homestead exemption is found in the South Carolina Code of Laws at S.C. Code Ann. § 15-41-30. You'll find the statutes on the South Carolina Legislature's website.
In accordance with S.C. Code Ann. 15-41-30(B), the South Carolina exemption amounts will be adjusted on July 1 of even calendar years to reflect the southeastern consumer price index for urban consumers, as provided by the United States Department of Labor. The next adjustment is scheduled for July 1, 2018.