The Maryland Homestead Exemption

If you live in Maryland and file for bankruptcy, the Maryland homestead exemption protects equity in your home. Learn more.

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

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

For more bankruptcy information, read Filing for Bankruptcy in Maryland. 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 Maryland Bankruptcy

In Maryland, you'll use Maryland's state exemptions—the federal bankruptcy exemptions aren't available (some states allow residents to choose between the two sets). However, you can supplement Maryland's state exemptions with the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.

To help you make an informed choice, we've listed the homestead exemption amount below. We've also included links to the federal and state exemption lists that apply in your case, so you'll have an easier time deciding whether bankruptcy will work for you.

If you're married, remember that spouses can double some exemption amounts, but not all. Find out about other filing considerations for spouses.

Maryland Homestead Exemption

Homestead exemption amount

$25,150

Can spouses who file a joint bankruptcy double the exemption?

No

Homestead exemption law

S.C. Code Ann. §§ 15-41-30(A)(1)(a), (b)

Other information

Amounts are subject to change.

Where to find other exemptions.

Maryland Bankruptcy Exemptions

Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions

Property Protected by the Maryland Homestead Exemption

In Maryland, the homestead exemption applies to real property, including your home, condominium, or co-op. You must own and occupy the property in order to protect it. The homestead exemption also applies to a manufactured home that you have converted to real property by permanently affixing it to the land.

Timing Your Maryland Bankruptcy

You can file for bankruptcy in Maryland after living there for more than 180 days. However, you must live in Maryland much longer before using Maryland 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.

Learn more about this requirement, the current amount of the federal cap, and other important exceptions to homestead exemptions.

Claiming the Maryland Bankruptcy Homestead Exemption

In Maryland, 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 Maryland Bankruptcy Homestead Exemption Statute

You'll find Maryland's homestead exemption in the Maryland Code Ann. Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 11-504(f)(1)(i)(2) on the General Assembly of Maryland website. Still, the best way to protect your assets is by consulting with a local bankruptcy lawyer.

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. You can also learn about finding state laws and doing legal research.

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

Updated August 13, 2021

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