The Virginia homestead exemption is unique in that it can be used for personal property as well as real estate. To assert your homestead exemption you must file a timely homestead deed in the property venue.
What is the Virginia Homestead Exemption For?
Exemption scheme incorporated in laws throughout the 50 states are primarily to protect property or value of debtors from collection efforts of creditors. In Virginia, the legal exemptions permitted to debtors are primarily found in section 34 of the Virginia Code Annontated. Under the homestead exemption (section 34-4) an individual has a lifetime exempton of $5,000 which can be used to protect equity in a home or personal property. The individual can get an additional $500 per qualified dependent. The exemption for senior citizens is a $10,000 lifetime exemption. A similar exemption is available to veterans with a service related disability of 40% or more.
When do you need a Virginia Homestead Deed?
There are two primary circumstances where a Virginia Homestead Deed many be needed. The first situation is in the filing of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Virginia has opted out of the federal exemption scheme. As such, protection for both real and personal property in bankruptcy falls under state law. Virginia state law has no specific protection for liquid assets such as wages, bank savings, cash-value life insurance, and other value. Additionally, Virginia's exemption scheme is generally one of the more conservative in the nation. As such, the homestead deed can also supplement protection of personal property such as a vehicle were the state vehicle exemption is inadequate to cover all exposed equity. You can find more on this at https://www.virginiahomesteaddeed.com. The second situation where a Virginia homestead deed may be useful is outside of bankruptcy where an individual is being garnished. While filing a homestead deed will not halt a garnishment, it can be used to recover the money taken up the individual's available exemption amount. You can find more on garnishments at http://www.virginiagarnishments.com.
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