The Missouri Homestead Exemption

If you file for bankruptcy in Missouri, the homestead exemption will protect some of the equity in your home.

By , Attorney ● University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law
Updated 9/21/2023

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



How Much Is the Homestead Exemption in a Missouri Bankruptcy?

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

Missouri Homestead Exemption

Homestead exemption amount

$15,000

Can spouses who file a joint bankruptcy double the exemption?

Yes

Homestead exemption law

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 513.475

Other information

Amounts are subject to change.

Where to find other exemptions.

Missouri Bankruptcy Exemptions

Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions

What Property Is Protected by the Missouri Homestead Exemption?

In Missouri, 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 you have converted to real property by permanently affixing it to the land.

Example 1. If you own a house worth $120,000 and have a mortgage balance of $110,000, you have $10,000 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 $80,000 and you can exempt $15,000 of your $40,000 equity. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee would likely sell your house, give you $15,000 for your exemption, and use what remains after sales costs to pay unsecured creditors. If you wanted to keep the home, you could file for Chapter 13 and pay the $25,000 nonexempt equity portion to unsecured creditors through the Chapter 13 plan.

Property held as a tenancy by the entirety. This ownership interest exists when property is owned by a married couple as a single marital entity, not as individuals. If one spouse files for bankruptcy, the trustee might be prevented from using the property equity to pay off debts. However, this is a tricky area of law so talk with a local bankruptcy attorney to ensure you don't lose valuable property.

When Can You Claim the Missouri Homestead Exemption in Bankruptcy?

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

You'll find Missouri's homestead exemption in the Mo. Rev. Stat. § 513.475 on the Missouri Revisor of Statutes website. Still, 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

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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.

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