right to homestead (“homestead exemption”) – the right to occupy land for use as a home, with the land, house, and outbuildings remaining exempt from execution and forced sale for collection of a debt by creditors

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right of homestead:

1. A statute exempting a homestead from execution or judicial sale for debt, unless all owners, usually a husband and wife, have jointly mortgaged the property or otherwise subjected it to creditors’ claims. —aka homestead law; homestead-exemption statute; homestead right; homestead exemption. [1]

1. The exemption created by act of Congress declaring that no lands acquired under federal homestead and timber culture laws shall be liable for the satisfaction of any debt contracted prior to their acquisition from the government.  42 Am J1st Pub L § 27.

The exemption from execution, provided by constitution or statute, of a prescribed amount or tract of land occupied by the debtor as the head of the family residing thereon.  26 Am J1st Home §§ 2 et seq[3]

1. Under homestead exemption statutes, the immunity of real property from execution for debt, provided the property is occupied by the debtor as the head of the family.  See head of family. [4]

homestead right:

1. A quality annexed to land whereby an estate is exempted from sale under execution for debt. Little John v Egerton, 77 NC 379, 384.

A statutory privilege which may be asserted where the homestead property of the family is sought to be subjected to the payment of a debt not a lien, whereunder either or both spouses may claim the homestead as exempt from seizure.  Thompson v Marlin, 116 Okla 159, 243 P 950.

The right to enter upon unappropriated public land for the purpose of occupying a tract and ultimately acquiring title to it under the homestead laws. 42 Am J1st Pub §§ 9 et seq. [3]

homestead laws:

1. The statutes relative to the acquisition of a homestead out of the public domain.  42 Am J2d Pub L § 20.
See homestead exemption; pre-emption laws. [3]

homestead exemption statutes:

1. State statutes that provide for a homestead exemption. [4]

homestead exemption laws:

1. Laws passed in most of the States allowing a head of a family to designate by public record a house and land as his homestead, and exempting such homestead from execution for general debts.  See the statutes of the several States. [5]

Related Terms:

homestead – an artificial estate in land, devised to protect the possession and enjoyment of the owner against the claims of his creditors, by withdrawing the property from execution and forced sale, so long as the land is occupied as a home; includes the house, outbuilding , and adjoining land.

declaration of homestead – a statement filed with the county recorder, describing the property and showing the world that the occupant claims their homestead exemption rights in the property.

entry under homestead law:

1. The act by which an individual acquires an inceptive right to a portion of the unappropriated soil of the public domain, consisting in the filing of a claim in the propert land office of the United States or, in case fo the public domain of a state, in the office of an entry-taker or other officer with similar authority.  42 Am J1st Pub L §§ 19 et seq. — aka homestead entry.
See contest of land entryoriginal entrypreemption entry

abandonment of homestead:

1. An actual relinquishment of possession fo the premises and removal therefrom, coupled with an intention to abandon the use of the property as a homestead, or an intention to remain away after such removal.  See 26 Am J1st Home § 193[3]

admeasurement of homestead:

1. A preliminary to an execution sale of property of a judgment debtor who is entitled to a homestead exemption in a part of the trace sought to be subjected to execution and sale.  26 Am J1st Home § 96.

excessive homestead:

1. A selected homestead exemption which exceeds in value the amount fixed by the statute which creates the exemption.  26 Am J1st Home § 43.

Not a selection which creditors can attack successfully as illegal, their remedy being to reach the excess in value. [3]

Types of Homesteads:

business homestead (1882) The premises on which a family’s business is located. and in some states, business homesteads are exempt from execution or judicial sale for most kinds of debt.

constitutional homestead (1851) A homestead, along with its exemption from forced sale, conferred on the head of a household by a state constitution. — aka statutory homestead; pony homestead.

probate homestead (1881) A homestead created by a probate court from a decedent’s estate for the benefit of the decedent’s surviving spouse and minor children.  *  Under most statutes providing for the creation of a probate homestead, it is exempt from forced sale for the collection of decedent’s debts.  The family can remain in the home at least until the youngest child reaches the age of majority.  Many states allow the surviving spouse to live in the home for life.  In a few states, such as Texas, the right to a probate homestead is constitutional. 
See family allowance, spousal allowance under ALLOWANCE (1); HOMESTEAD LAW.  Cf. life estate under ESTATE (1).

homestead association – An association comparable to a savings and loan association.

homestead ex vi termini:

1. A homestead by the force of the term or expression; that is, in its ordinary meaning, the family seat or mansion. Turner v Turner, 107 Ala 465, 18 So 310.

homestead servants:

1. Domestic servants.  57 Am J1st Wills § 1395[3]


Homesteading Laws by State

See Resources for Homesteaders.


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[1] Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]:  Black’s Law Dictionary Second Edition Online, “HOMESTEAD”: http://thelawdictionary.org/homestead/

[3]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[4]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition by Jack Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[5]: A Dictionary of American and English law, with definitions of the Technical Terms fo the Canon and Civil Laws.  Also, containing a full collection of Latin maxims, and citations of by Rapalje, Steward; Lawrence, Robert Linn.  Vol. 1.  


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