The Indiana Homestead Exemption

The Indiana bankruptcy homestead exemption allows you to protect $19,300 in home equity; $38,600 if you are married filing jointly.

Most people want to know whether they can keep valuable property before filing for bankruptcy—especially a home. If you qualify to use the Indiana homestead exemption, you can protect some or all of the equity in your house. In this article, we explain:

  • how much the Indiana homestead exemption will cover, and
  • how to apply it in your bankruptcy case.

For more bankruptcy information, read Filing for Bankruptcy in Indiana. Not only will you find answers, but it includes helpful checklists and a link to an interactive bankruptcy quiz. Or, try the start-to-finish bankruptcy guide, What You Need to Know to File for Bankruptcy.

Homestead Exemptions Available in an Indiana Bankruptcy

In Indiana, you'll have to use Indiana's state exemptions. Unlike other states, you won't be able to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions. However, you can supplement Indiana's state exemptions with the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.

If you're married, keep in mind that spouses can double some exemption amounts. Find out about other filing considerations for spouses.

Indiana Homestead Exemption

Homestead exemption amount

$19,300

Can spouses who file a joint bankruptcy double the exemption?

$38,600 is available to spouses who co-own property.

Homestead exemption law

Ind. Code § 34-55-10-2(c)(1)

Other information

Amounts adjust every six years (next adjustment 2022).

Where to find other exemptions.

Indiana Bankruptcy Exemptions

Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions

Property Protected by Indiana's Homestead Exemption

In Indiana, the homestead exemption applies to residential property or tangible personal property (such as a mobile home) that constitutes your personal or family residence. As a result, a homestead in Indiana can include a home, condominium, trailer, or farm.

If you hold property as tenancy by entirety with your spouse: If one spouse files for bankruptcy—not both—the bankruptcy trustee might be prevented from using the property equity to pay off debts. However, this area is tricky. Talk with a local bankruptcy attorney before filing to ensure that you don't lose valuable property.

Timing Your Indiana Bankruptcy

You can file for bankruptcy in Indiana after living there for more than 180 days. However, you must live in Indiana much longer before using Indiana exemptions—at least 730 days before filing, to be exact. Otherwise, you'd use the previous state's exemptions.

But suppose you lived in multiple states during the two years before filing for bankruptcy. In that case, you'd use the exemptions of the state you lived in for most of the 180 days before the two-year period that immediately preceded your filing. (11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(A).) Learn more about filing for bankruptcy after moving to a new state.

Claiming the Indiana Bankruptcy Homestead Exemption

In Indiana, the homestead exemption is automatic – you don't have to file a homestead declaration with the recorder's office to claim the homestead exemption in bankruptcy. Instead, when filing for bankruptcy, you'll list your homestead exemption on Schedule C: The Property You Claim as Exempt when completing your bankruptcy forms. You can find out about other requirements you'll need to meet in Your Home in Chapter 7 or Your Home in Chapter 13.

Finding the Indiana Bankruptcy Homestead Exemption Statute

You'll find Indiana's homestead exemption in the Indiana Code at Ind. Code § 34-55-10-2(c)(1) on the Indiana General Assembly website. Indiana's Department of Financial Institutions adjusts state exemption amounts for inflation every six years (go there to find the most current amount). The next adjustment will be made in 2022. Learn about finding state statutes in Laws and Legal Research.

Need More Help?

You might not know this, but Nolo has been making the law easy for DIYers for over fifty years. If you have questions, use the links we've included throughout for more details. Otherwise, you'll find the answers to almost all of your bankruptcy questions at nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/bankruptcy or by consulting with a local bankruptcy lawyer.

This overview cannot provide all of the information you'll need to file a bankruptcy case. For more detailed information, consider buying a self-help book such as How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy by Attorney Cara O'Neill and Albin Renauer J.D.

Updated July 19, 2021

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