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Question: “Is there still homesteading in Idaho? If there is where or how do I go about filing for one?”
Answer: If by “homesteading” you are referring to the homestead exemption that protects your property from creditors, then the answer is yes (up to $100,000 of equity). In addition, you don’t need to file for one … Idaho law makes it automatic, unless the property is not yet occupied. Here are the applicable provisions in Idaho law:
55-1001.Definitions. For purposes of this chapter:
(1) "Dwelling house" and "mobile home" include manufactured housing.
(2) "Homestead" means and consists of the dwelling house or the mobile home in which the owner resides or intends to reside, with appurtenant buildings, and the land on which the same are situated and by which the same are surrounded, or improved; or unimproved land owned with the intention of placing a house or mobile home thereon and residing thereon. A mobile home may be exempted under this chapter whether or not it is permanently affixed to the underlying land and whether or not the mobile home is placed upon a lot owned by the mobile home owner. Property included in the homestead must be actually intended or used as a principal home for the owner.
(3) "Net value" means market value less all liens and encumbrances.
(4) "Owner" includes, but is not limited to, a purchaser under a deed of trust, mortgage, or contract, or a person who takes the subject property under a life estate.
55-1003.Homestead exemption limited. A homestead may consist of lands, as described in section 55-1001, Idaho Code, regardless of area, but the homestead exemption amount shall not exceed the lesser of (i) the total net value of the lands, mobile home, and improvements as described in section 55-1001, Idaho Code; or (ii) the sum of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).
55-1004.Automatic homestead exemption -- Conditions -- Declaration of homestead -- Declaration of abandonment. (1) Property described in section 55-1001, Idaho Code, constitutes a homestead and is automatically protected by the exemption described in section 55-1003, Idaho Code, from and after the time the property is occupied as a principal residence by the owner or, if the homestead is unimproved or improved land that is not yet occupied as a homestead, from and after the declaration or declarations required in this section are filed for record or, if the homestead is a mobile home not yet occupied as a homestead and located on land not owned by the owner of the mobile home, from and after delivery of a declaration as described in section 55-1006, Idaho Code.
(2) An owner who selects a homestead from unimproved or improved land that is not yet occupied as a homestead must execute a declaration of homestead and file the same for record in the office of the recorder of the county in which the land is located. However, if the owner also owns another parcel of property on which the owner presently resides or in which the owner claims a homestead, the owner must also execute a declaration of abandonment of homestead on that other property and file the same for record with the recorder of the county in which the land is located.
(3) The declaration of homestead must contain:
(a) A statement that the person making it is residing on the premises or intends to reside thereon and claims the premises as a homestead;
(b) A legal description of the premises; and
(c) An estimate of the premises actual cash value.
(4) The declaration of abandonment must contain:
(a) A statement that a premises occupied as a residence or claimed as a homestead no longer constitutes the owner’s homestead;
(b) A legal description of the premises; and
(c) A statement of the date of abandonment.
(5) The declaration of homestead and declaration of abandonment of homestead must be acknowledged in the same manner as a grant of real property is acknowledged.
If you need to file for the homestead because you are not yet living there, then you should contact your county records office and ask if there is a form.
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