In bankruptcy, a homestead exemption protects equity in your home. Here you’ll find specific information about the homestead exemption in Oklahoma.
For information about how the homestead exemption works in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, see The Homestead Exemption in Bankruptcy. For more articles on exemptions, see our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.
Under the Oklahoma exemption system, homeowners may exempt the entire value of their homes or manufactured homes covered by the homestead exemption. However, federal law places some limits on this exemption, depending on when you bought the home. (To learn more, see The Homestead Exemption in Bankruptcy.)
In Oklahoma, the homestead exemption applies to real property, including your home or manufactured home. This exemption is only applicable to property you use as your principal residence. Therefore, you may not use the Oklahoma exemption to protect property in which your dependents reside, unless you reside there as well.
You may use the Oklahoma homestead exemption to protect the value of your home if it is located in a city or town, does not exceed 1 acre, and is used for residential or residential and business purposes. In order to use the unlimited Oklahoma homestead exemption, you must use 75% or more of the home's square footage for residential purposes. If you use more than 25% of the square footage for business purposes, your exemption is limited to $5,000.
If your home is not located in a city or town, you may use the Oklahoma homestead exemption to protect up to 160 acres of property. Similarly, if your property was annexed to a city or town after November 1, 1997, and is used for both residential and commercial agricultural purposes, you may use the Oklahoma homestead exemption to protect up to 160 acres of property. You may use the homestead exemption to protect your home under these circumstances, even if your property is located on multiple parcels of land.
Some states allow bankruptcy filers to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions instead of the state exemptions. Oklahoma is not one of those states. If you reside in Oklahoma, you must use the state exemptions.
(To learn more about which state exemptions apply to you, see Which Exemptions Can You Use in Bankruptcy?)
In Oklahoma, the homestead exemption is automatic – you don’t have to file a homestead declaration in order to claim the homestead exemption in bankruptcy.
What the Oklahoma Homestead Exemption Does Not Protect
The Oklahoma exemption laws will not protect your property from clerk, mechanic, laborer, or servant wage claims, nor does it protect your property from mechanics’ liens or tax liability (31 O.S. Sections 5 and 6).
Who the Oklahoma Homestead Exemption Does Not Protect
The Oklahoma homestead exemption does not offer protection to non-residents of Oklahoma, debtors in the act of removing their families from the state, or those who have absconded with their family.
Finding the Oklahoma Homestead Exemption Statute
Oklahoma’s homestead exemption is found in the Oklahoma state statutes at 31 O.S. Section 1. To learn how to find state statutes, check out Nolo’s Laws and Legal Research area.
The section of the Oklahoma Statute containing the homestead exemption may be reviewed at the website of the Oklahoma Legislature at www.oklegislature.gov/osstatuestitle.html.