The Missouri Homestead Exemption

If you file for bankruptcy in Missouri, the homestead exemption will protect up to $15,000 of your equity in your home.

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

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

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

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

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

Property 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 that you have converted to real property by permanently affixing it to the land.

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. Wyoming is one of about 25 states where a married couple can own property as tenants by the entirety. If one spouse files for bankruptcy—not both—the bankruptcy trustee might be prevented from using the property equity to pay off debts. Your property equity could be fully protected. However, be warned that this is a tricky area of law. Talk with a local bankruptcy attorney before filing to ensure that you don't lose valuable property. Is this really a risk? Absolutely, because you don't have an automatic right to dismiss a Chapter 7 case if you make a mistake.

Timing Your Missouri 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 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 Missouri Bankruptcy Homestead Exemption

In Missouri, 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 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 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

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