Montana Homestead Declaration
A Simple Way to Protect Your Property For Up To $250,000 from Creditors
Many Homeowners today possess a wealth of information about real estate, but frequently overlook one type of protection new and unique to Montana. While you may not need identity theft or other protections from creditors today, tomorrow your circumstances can change – illness, injury, and other financial expenses occur without warning, and when they do, one typically is not able to take measures to prepare, such as benefiting from your property’s Homestead-ability.
This is a means by which Montana homeowners can shelter up to $250,000 in value of a home against most* creditors’ claims. It is called a “Declaration of Homestead.”
What property is Homestead-able? A homestead is the home that a person lives in and the land on which it sits. In order to be eligible for a homestead declaration, the property must be the person’s primary residence, and would include any appurtenances, such as outbuildings and fences.
What is the Limit on Dollar Value? In Montana the legislature has set the maximum value of exempt property for a homestead declaration to be $250,000. (See Section 70-32-104, M.C.A.) “In a proceeding instituted to determine the value of the homestead, the assessed value of the land with included appurtenances, if any, and of the dwelling house as it appears on the last-completed assessment roll preceding the institution of the proceeding is prima facie evidence of the value of the property claimed as a homestead.”
If the residence’s value exceeds $250,000, a creditor may request a district court judgment against part of it or all of it. When the sale occurs, the Homeowners who filed the Homestead Declaration have protected the first $250,000 of the proceeds. The money paid to the homeowner (up to $250,000) is provided the same protection from creditors.
In times of financial concern and increasing debts, a Declaration of Homestead may be well worth the minimal effort and expense of drafting, signing before a notary and recording.
The time to prepare is before the need arises and then hope it never does – consult with your legal counsel about recording a Declaration of Homestead today.