In bankruptcy, a homestead exemption protects equity in your home. The Wyoming homestead exemption is not particularly generous -- you can only exempt up to $20,000 of your home ($40,000 for married couples filing jointly). Read on to learn the details of the Wyoming homestead exemption.
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 Wyoming exemption system, homeowners may exempt up to $20,000 of their home or other property covered by the homestead exemption.
In Wyoming, when two or more people jointly own, and reside in, a homestead property, each is entitled to his or her own exemption. This means that if a married couple jointly owns their home, they can claim a total homestead exemption of $40,000 ($20,000 each). To learn more about filing jointly with your spouse, see Nolo's area on Bankruptcy Considerations for Married Couples.
In Wyoming the homestead exemption applies to real property, including your:
In Wyoming, a property will only qualify for a homestead exemption if it is occupied by the person claiming the exemption, or his or her family. Also, if a person entitled to a Wyoming homestead exemption dies, and he or she leaves behind a widow, a widower, or minor children as survivors, then the survivors will be entitled to the homestead and it will be exempt from the debts of the deceased.
Some states allow bankruptcy filers to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions instead of the state exemptions. Wyoming is not one of those states. If you reside in Wyoming 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 Wyoming the homestead exemption is automatic – you don’t have to file a homestead declaration in order to claim the homestead exemption in bankruptcy.
If property is held as a tenancy by entirety, it means the property is jointly owned by a married couple as a single marital entity, not as individuals. Wyoming is one of about 25 states in which a married couple may own property as tenants by entirety.
In Wyoming, if property is held or owned as tenants by entirety, then the property will be exempt from attachment for the individual debts of either spouse. For example, say a wife is solely responsible for a credit card debt, and she and her husband own a property as tenants by entirety. That property would be exempt from attachment by the wife’s credit card company. However, if the couple is liable for a debt jointly, then the property may still be attached by the jointly-owed creditor. (See In re Wenadnde, 107 B.R. 770 (Bankr. D. Wyo 1989)
Wyoming’s homestead exemption is found in the Wyoming state statutes at Title 1, Chapter 20, sections 101-111 ( Wyo. Stat. Ann. § § 1-20-101 et seq.). To learn how to find state statutes, check out Nolo’s Laws and Legal Research area.
The Wyoming Statutes may be found online at: http://legisweb.state.wy.us/statutes/statutes.aspx.