The Michigan Homestead Exemption

Learn how the Michigan homestead exemption can protect your home equity in bankruptcy.

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

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

For more bankruptcy information, read Filing for Bankruptcy in Michigan. 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 a Michigan Bankruptcy

Michigan lets filers use either the federal exemption system or Michigan's state exemption system, so you'll have two homestead amounts to choose between. However, you can't mix exemptions from both lists, so you'll want to select the system that will protect your most important assets.

To help you make an informed choice, we've listed both exemption amounts below. We've also included links to more complete federal and state exemption lists so you'll have an easier time deciding which set will work best for you.

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

Federal Homestead Exemption

Michigan Homestead Exemption

Homestead exemption amount

$25,150

$40,475; $60,725 if over 65 years old or disabled

Can spouses who file a joint bankruptcy double the exemption?

$50,300 is available to spouses who co-own property.

No.

Homestead exemption law

11 U.S.C. § 522(d)(1)

Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 600.5451(1) (m),(n),(o)

Other information

Amounts will adjust on April 1, 2022.

Amounts adjust periodically.

Compare other federal and state exemptions.

Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions

Michigan Bankruptcy Exemptions

Property Protected by Michigan's Homestead Exemption

The homestead exemption applies to your principal residence only. It could include your house, condominium, co-op unit, mobile home, motor home, boat or other watercraft, or manufactured home. The homestead exemption also applies to appurtenances to the property. If the property is outside a city, village, or recorded plat, the homestead can include up to 40 acres. If the property is inside a city, village, or recorded plat, the exemption applies to one lot or parcel.

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 is a tricky area of law. Talk with a local bankruptcy attorney before filing to ensure that you don't lose valuable property.

Timing Your Michigan Bankruptcy

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

In Michigan, 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 Michigan Bankruptcy Homestead Exemption Statute

You'll find Michigan's homestead exemption in the Michigan Compiled Laws at §§ 600.5451(1)(m),(n),(o) on the Michigan Legislature website. Check for updates with the Michigan Department of Treasury in the Economic Reports section. 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 21, 2021

Talk to a Bankruptcy Lawyer

Need professional help? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
Get Professional Help

Get debt relief now.

We've helped 205 clients find attorneys today.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you