Has someone threatened to sue you or is there a judgment against you? Do you own and live in your home or mobile home? If so, homesteading your home or mobile home can help you!
WHAT IS A HOMESTEAD?
If you get sued and a judgment is been entered against you, the person or company that wins the lawsuit can force the sheriff to sell your home or mobile home to pay off the judgment. However, if you "homestead" your home or mobile home, in most instances the person or company that wins the lawsuit cannot force a sale of your home or mobile home. A "homestead" means that you have filed a declaration of homestead form with the county recorder's office. You may homestead your property to protect it from creditors.
WHO CAN HOMESTEAD?
You must own or be buying your home or mobile home to homestead.
You must live in your home or mobile home. If you rent it out to someone else you cannot homestead the home or mobile home, even though you own it.
It does not matter whether you are single, married or an unmarried head of household. All people may homestead their home. You may homestead your mobile home even though you don't own the land the mobile home sits on.
ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS ON HOMESTEADING?
Some mortgages may prohibit homesteading. You should check with your bank or financial institution to learn whether the institution restricts your right to homestead your property. A homestead will not protect your home or mobile home if the judgment is for:
- The mortgage or deed on the home or mobile home.
- Improvements made on the home or mobile home.
- Mechanic's liens and other liens on the home or mobile home.
WHAT IS THE AMOUNT YOU CAN PROTECT BY HOMESTEADING YOUR PROPERTY?
As of July 1, 2005, you can only protect $550,000 equity in your home or mobile home by homesteading it. If your property is worth more than $550,000 you should go ahead and homestead the property but you will only be able to protect $550,000 of your equity in it.
HOW DO I HOMESTEAD MY PROPERTY?
First obtain a Declaration of Homestead form. Most office supply stores and the County Recorder's office carry the forms. It is available online at Access Clark County. You may also pick up a Declaration of Homestead form and instruction sheet from Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. Read the Declaration of Homestead form carefully. Be sure to fill in all of the blanks. Sign it before a notary and print your name beneath your signature.
You next record your Declaration of Homestead by taking or mailing the form to the county recorder's office. Although you may mail the form to the County Recorder's Office instead of personally delivering it there, it will take considerably longer for your Homestead to be recorded. If the home or mobile home you are homesteading is in Clark County, you must take or mail your Declaration of Homestead to the Clark County Recorder. The Clark County Recorder's Office is located at 500 So. Grand Central Parkway, 2nd Floor, Las Vegas, Nevada 89155-1510.
You must pay a recording fee of $14.00 for the first page plus $1.00 each for any additional pages. The Recorder's office will record your Declaration of Homestead and return the form to you by mail.
WHEN SHOULD I HOMESTEAD?
You can record your homestead at almost any time. You can record your homestead even if you have already lost a lawsuit. You can record it and protect your property even if the person or company who sued you has already made plans to sell your home or mobile home. You can record the homestead and protect your property at any time before your home or mobile home is sold.
IS IT TIME FOR A NEW HOMESTEAD?
You may have to make a new Declaration of Homestead if you move or if your personal life changes. To protect your home, prepare and record a new homestead form if you:
- Sell your home and buy another one to live in.
- Move your mobile home from one lot space to another.
- Marry, divorce or become widowed.