The South Dakota Homestead Exemption

If you file for bankruptcy in South Dakota, the very generous homestead exemption allows you to protect the entire value of your home, although there are acreage limits.

If you file for bankruptcy in South Dakota, the very generous homestead exemption allows you to protect the entire value of your  home. Here you’ll find specific information about the homestead exemption in South Dakota.

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 South Dakota Homestead Exemption: Amount and Scope

Under the South Dakota exemption system, homeowners may exempt an unlimited dollar amount of real property, including their home and condominium, their mobile home, and other property covered by the homestead exemption.

However, the South Dakota system does have acreage limitations. If the real property is located within a town, it cannot exceed more than one acre. If it is located anywhere else, it cannot exceed 160 acres. Also, the homestead only covers one dwelling house and any other contiguous buildings that are attached to that house. If the homestead contains minerals that the United States government has claimed, then the maximum size, outside of a town, is reduced to 40 acres.

If you have two or more houses or mobile homes used at different times and places, you can only select one to keep and exempt as your homestead.

Although mobile homes also receive an unlimited exemption, they cannot be larger than 240 square feet at the base and must be registered in South Dakota at least six months before claiming the exemption.  

Gold and silver mines, mills, or smelters, and related machinery, cannot be homesteads.

The Homestead Exemption and Delinquent Taxes

The South Dakota homestead exemption also includes a program to protect the homes of elderly individuals from foreclosure due to delinquent taxes. This program protects individuals 70 years of age and older (and the surviving spouse of such person as long as the spouse does not remarry) with a homestead with a value of less than $170,000. However, the property taxes may not exceed the value of the property under this exemption. 

Can You Use the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions in South Dakota?

Some states allow bankruptcy filers to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions instead of the state exemptions. South Dakota is not one of those states. If you reside in South Dakota you must use the state exemptions.

(To learn more about which state exemptions apply to you, see Which Exemptions Can You Use in Bankruptcy?)

No Homestead Declaration Required in South Dakota

In South Dakota the homestead exemption is automatic – you don’t have to file a homestead declaration in order to claim the homestead exemption in bankruptcy.

Homestead Exemption for a Surviving Spouse and Minor Children

In South Dakota, if a husband or wife dies, the surviving spouse may claim the exemption if the spouse continues to occupy the homestead. When both husband and wife die, the children may continue to occupy the whole homestead and claim the exemption until the youngest child comes of age.

Finding the South Dakota Homestead Exemption Statute

South Dakota’s homestead exemption is found in Title 43, Chapter 31 of South Dakota’s Codified Laws at §§ 43-31-1 through 43-31-41. To learn how to find state statutes, check out Nolo’s Laws and Legal Research area.

The South Dakota Legislature website provides the Codified Laws at

The homestead exemption amounts may change through statutory amendments by the South Dakota State Legislature. Refer the South Dakota legislature website above for updated exemption amounts.

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