The Montana Homestead Exemption

If you file for bankruptcy in Montana, the homestead exemption protects up to $350,000 ($700,000 for married couples) of 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 Montana homestead exemption, you can protect some or all of the equity in your house. In this article, we explain:

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

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

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

Montana Homestead Exemption

Homestead exemption amount

$350,000

Can spouses who file a joint bankruptcy double the exemption?

Yes

Homestead exemption law

Mont. Code Ann. §§ 70-32-104; 25-13-615

Other information

Protects up to 320 acres (more below); amounts are subject to change.

Where you'll find other exemptions

Montana Bankruptcy Exemptions

Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions

Property Protected by the Montana Homestead Exemption

Montana has one of the more generous exemptions. You'll be able to protect up to $350,000 of equity in a residence, including your home, condominium, or any other dwelling and appurtenances. The property can be up to 320 farm acres, a quarter of city acreage, or one residential acre outside a municipality.

The homestead exemption also applies to sale, condemnation, and insurance proceeds for up to 18 months after the sale, condemnation, or loss.

Timing Your Montana Bankruptcy

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

Also, to claim the total value of the Montana homestead exemption, you must have purchased and owned the property for at least 1,215 days before the bankruptcy filing. If you can't meet this requirement, your homestead exemption is limited by federal law to $170,350 (this figure will adjust on April 1, 2022).

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

Claiming the Montana Bankruptcy Homestead Exemption

In Montana, you must file a homestead declaration (a form filed with the county recorder's office to put on record your right to a homestead exemption) before you file for bankruptcy in order to claim the homestead exemption. Contact your county recorder for information on how to file a homestead declaration. Check for the form on Montana's State website.

In 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 Montana Bankruptcy Homestead Exemption Statute

You'll find Montana's homestead exemption on the Montana Legislature website in Mont. Code Ann. §§ 70-32-104; 25-13-615. 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 16, 2021

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