The Maine Homestead Exemption

If you file for bankruptcy in Maine, the homestead exemption protects between $80,000 and $160,000 of your home equity. Here's how it works.

By , Attorney · University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law

In bankruptcy, a homestead exemption protects equity in your home. Here you'll find specific information about the homestead exemption in Maine. For general information about how the homestead exemption works in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, read The Homestead Exemption in Bankruptcy.

How Much Is the Homestead Exemption in a Maine Bankruptcy?

In Maine, you'll use Maine's state exemptions because the federal bankruptcy exemptions aren't available (some states allow residents to choose between the two sets). Maine's exemption amount increases if you have dependents. Contact a local bankruptcy lawyer for current amounts and to find out about other filing considerations for spouses.

Maine Homestead Exemption

Homestead exemption amount

$80,000; $160,000 for a debtor with minor dependents, or people 60 years and older, or those with a disability

Can spouses who file a joint bankruptcy double the exemption?

Check with a local attorney.

Homestead exemption law

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14, § 4422(1)

Other information

Amount changes periodically.

What Property Is Protected by the Maine Homestead Exemption?

The homestead exemption applies to real and personal property used as your residence in Maine, including a house, mobile home, co-op, or condominium. The exemption also includes burial plots. It also applies to property sales proceeds for up to six months.

Example 1. If you own a house worth $120,000 and have a mortgage balance of $80,000, you have $40,000 of equity in the property. If you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can use the homestead exemption to protect all equity.

Example 2. Assume your mortgage is only $20,000 and could only exempt $80,000 of your $100,000 of equity. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee would likely sell your house, give you $80,000 from the proceeds for your exemption, and use any amount remaining after deducting sales costs to pay unsecured creditors. If you wanted to keep the home, you could file for Chapter 13 and pay the $20,000 nonexempt equity portion to unsecured creditors through the Chapter 13 plan.

When Can You Claim the Maine Homestead Exemption in Bankruptcy?

You can file for bankruptcy in Maine after living there for more than 180 days. However, you must live in Maine much longer before using Maine 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 immediately preceding your filing. (11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(A).) Learn more about filing for bankruptcy after moving to a new state.

You'll also need to meet other timing and exemption requirements to prevent losing your home in bankruptcy. Find out more about keeping your home in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 or consult a bankruptcy lawyer.

Finding the Maine Bankruptcy Homestead Exemption Statute

You'll find Maine's homestead exemption in the Maine Revised Statutes at Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14, § 4422(1) on the Maine Legislature website, but the best way to protect your assets is by consulting with a local bankruptcy lawyer.

Need More Bankruptcy Help?

Did you know Nolo has made the law easy for over fifty years? It's true, and we want to ensure you find what you need. Below you'll find more articles explaining how bankruptcy works. And don't forget that our bankruptcy homepage is the best place to start if you have other questions!

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Helpful Bankruptcy Sites

Department of Justice U.S. Trustee Program

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We wholeheartedly encourage research and learning, but online articles can't address all bankruptcy issues or the facts of your case. The best way to protect your assets in bankruptcy is by hiring a local bankruptcy lawyer.

Updated September 21, 2023

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