The Tennessee Homestead Exemption

The Tennessee homestead exemption protects some of your home equity if you file for bankruptcy. Learn more.

By , Attorney · University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law

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

How Much Is the Homestead Exemption in a Tennessee Bankruptcy?

In Tennessee, you'll use Tennessee's homestead exemption to protect some or all of your home's equity. Although some states allow filers to use federal bankruptcy exemptions, Tennessee is not one of them. However, you can supplement Tennessee'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 so you'll have an easier time deciding whether bankruptcy will work 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.

Tennessee Homestead Exemptions

Homestead exemption amount


Can spouses who file a joint bankruptcy double the exemption?

  • $7,500 for co-owning spouses filing jointly
  • $25,000 for a filer with a minor dependent child in the household
  • $12,500 for an individual 62 years of age or older
  • $20,000 if one spouse is older than 62 and the other is younger, and
  • $25,000 if both spouses are 62 years old or older.

Homestead exemption law

Tenn. Code Ann. § 26-2-301

Other information

Amounts subject to change.

Where to find other exemptions

Tennessee Bankruptcy Exemptions

Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions

What Type of Property Does the Tennessee Homestead Exemption Protect?

In Tennessee, the homestead exemption applies to real and personal property serving as your principal residence, including your home and condominium. Any interest in a family cemetery not larger than one acre, a burial plot in a cemetery, or a space in a mausoleum is also protected. See the chart above for spousal, dependent, and age-related exemption increases.

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. Before filing, talk with a local bankruptcy attorney to ensure you don't lose valuable property.

Here's an additional benefit: If a person dies leaving a spouse or dependent children in Tennessee, the deceased's homestead exemption can be transferred to the survivors. The survivors don't have to use that amount to pay the deceased's debts.

When Can You Use a Homestead Exemption in a Tennessee Bankruptcy?

You can file for bankruptcy in Tennessee after living there for over 180 days. However, you must live in Tennessee much longer before using Tennessee exemptions (if that's the set you choose to use), 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 years immediately preceding your filing. (11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(A).) Learn more about filing for bankruptcy after moving to a new state.

Consult a Tennessee Bankruptcy Lawyer

We've covered some of the most basic rules you'll encounter when protecting your home in bankruptcy. However, you must also meet other timing and exemption requirements to prevent losing your home. Find out more about keeping your home in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 or consult a 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

Department of Justice U.S. Trustee Program

United States Courts Bankruptcy Forms

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.

Updated October 4, 2023

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