A Homestead Declaration form is an easy way to protect your home in case of emergency. This legal form essentially removes your home from your asset portfolio, preventing creditors from seizing and selling your home in if a judgment or lien is filed against you. The Homestead Declaration form doesn't protect your home in cases regarding delinquent property taxes, unpaid mortgages as well as special assessments such as outstanding construction liens. Homeowners can file a Homestead Declaration form for their properties in all states except Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
Go online and search for a Homeowner Declaration form for your state. See if there is a free form available for your specific state -- type "free homestead declaration form <name of your state>" in the search bar. Certain government state websites, such as the Clerk of Court, have the form available for free. Purchase and download the form, for a small fee, from various websites that sell legal documents if there is not a free version available.
Fill in the required information in the blanks on the Homestead Declaration form. Clearly print your full legal name, including the name of your spouse if married, the city, county and legal description of the property, and the homeowner vesting information -- both of which can be found on your deed. Don't sign the document yet, as you will need to have it notarized.
Take the completed Homestead Declaration form to a licensed notary, such as at a bank, to have it signed and notarized. Have the notary review the document for completeness and then sign your full legal name on the appropriate place on the form. Bring a copy of identification, such as a driver's license, so the notary can verify your identity.
File the complete and notarized Homestead Declaration form at the county recorder's office in the same county as the property is located. Mail the completed form along with a check for the recording fees. Call ahead to obtain the correct amount or pay over the phone, or visit the office in person where you can pay via cash, check, debit or credit card. Keep a copy of the form for your records and ask for a receipt from the county recorder's office showing proof of payment.
- The Homestead Declaration form is not the same as the standard Homestead Exemption form, which is mainly used to deduct tax exemptions regarding primary property.
- Consult an attorney prior to signing and filing if you have any questions or legal concerns regarding the form.
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