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RayAnswers, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 41574
Experience:  Texas lawyer for 30 years in Estate law
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One of my main concerns is that I am trying to buy a house.

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One of my main concerns is that I am trying to buy a house. And I am worried that once I buy the house this problem will come back to haunt me --and they will try to put alien on the house because of this money that my Mother says I took from her--but it is the money that my Father GAVE (gifted) to me for the down payment on the house. How can I protect myself and my home?

Good evening and thanks for your question here Barbara.

Your homestead in Nebraska has protections from creditors.You would want to designate it as your homestead when you purchase it.Under the law, homeowners who are the head of household or who are unmarried and over the age of 65 may exempt up to $60,000 of their home or other property covered by the homestead exemption. If the property is in a city or village, it cannot exceed two lots; if the property is not in a city or village, the property cannot exceed 160 acres.

You cannot use a trust here to shelter a home if you have a note on it the lender will not permit you to transfer ownership.Making use of the homestead protection is your best option to protect your home.

So if you are able to keep the equity value here under $60k it would be protected from judgment liens.As long as you did not sell it they can lien it but cannot force a sale.As I had stated to you previously the money your father gifted to you would legally be yours free and clear.I do not see that any relatives can successfully claim otherwise.

They appear to not have your best interests at heart.If they do assert such a claim you may decide to retain a lawyer to protect yourself.You appear to have great facts to do so.

Thanks so much for letting me chat with you tonight.I very much appreciate the chance to help you.I hope that you are able to locate a new home for purchase.I know that this has been a real series of challenges for you.Thanks again.


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This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship.Information provided here is not legal advice. Rather it is simply general information.

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Nebraska Homestead Protection Law.

40-101. Homestead, defined; exempted.

A homestead not exceeding sixty thousand dollars in value shall consist of the dwelling house in which the claimant resides, its appurtenances, and the land on which the same is situated, not exceeding one hundred and sixty acres of land, to be selected by the owner, and not in any incorporated city or village, or, at the option of the claimant, a quantity of contiguous land not exceeding two lots within any incorporated city or village, and shall be exempt from judgment liens and from execution or forced sale, except as provided in sections 40-101 to 40-116.


Laws 1879, § 1, p. 57;
R.S.1913, § 3076;
C.S.1922, § 2816;
C.S.1929, § 40-101;
R.S.1943, § 40-101;
Laws 1957, c. 153, § 3, p. 498;
Laws 1973, LB 15, § 1;
Laws 1980, LB 940, § 3;
Laws 1986, LB 999, § 2;
Laws 1997, LB 372, § 4;
Laws 2007, LB237, § 1.

Thanks again for letting me help you tonight.Good luck with the house purchase.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you --except I have found a home in Iowa to put some distance between me and my family. Since everyone is so fearful of me and all.


The home is in the process of coming to close. Waiting for the appraiser. The purchase price is 190k --currently the current owner and I are negotiating back and forth about my inspectors report. Owner needs to address some issues on the report. Once we get past that hurdle. I trust the appraiser will appraise for the agreed contract price of 190k.

But does Iowa law protect me--if the sale goes thru--(and current owner does not have any liens) from anyone putting a lien on it from my end??? I.E. my family?


I am not clear about the law that you posted for Nebraska--does that law mean that someone that owns a property in NE is protected from liens? Within a certain amount (range of the property value?)



That sounds great to get some distance from these folks.Iowa has a much better homestead exemption which will offer you more protection from any creditors.

Under the Iowa homeowner exemption , homeowners may exempt an unlimited amount of value in their home or other property covered by the homestead exemption.

Property cannot exceed one-half acre if located within a city or town, or forty acres if located elsewhere. If more than one dwelling house is located on the property, you may only protect one house, but you are permitted to select which house you want to protect.


You can protect one or more adjoining lots of land, as long as they are used as part of the same homestead. If a shop or other building used in your business is located on the homestead property, you may protect up to $300 of its value.

Thanks again for letting me follow up and ogood luck here with the move.Thanks for letting me chat with you.It has been a pleasure.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Wow! That is great news! How do I do that? Once I officially finish buying this home--or should I say something to the bank now --AS I am buying it?? What am I supposed to say to make it my official 'homestead?' Do I registered it with the county or the state as my official homestead to protect it or how is it done? Thanks!

You would just claim the homestead exemption for tax purposes.Use it for drivers license, voting registration, etc.Then it is undisputed.Thanks again and the best to you with the move.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Even if I am disabled and I dont pay taxes? Well I suppose I will pay my property taxes. So I will state it on my property taxes? NOT income taxes--correct? I can't recall a space where they asked for it on the drivers license or voter registration etc... But just to be clear...when I state that I am "homestead exemption" Is that the correct way of entering it or classifying myself? Then I am protecting myself from anyone that will try to sue me and put a lien on my home. They cannot take my home. For any reason. i.e. this situation with my Mother wanting that money back--or if I had to declare a bankruptcy or any other financial problem. It seems too good to be true.


Esp since I will have a mortgage and the bank will have a stake in my home.


Thanks again


By claiming this as your homestead and claiming exemptions and lving there you are declaring it is your residence and homestead.You are protected here against everybody but the tax authority and lender with the note.As long as you make the payments and pay the taxes the creditors cannot force a sale.Iowa is more of a debtor state here.You would be able to keep it in bankrutpcy too.Thanks again.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, but what I am saying is--how can I do that if I don't pay income taxes. Because I am disabled. I dont pay income taxes on my income. So --how do I establish this fact without the income tax claiming exemptions...other than simply saying that it is my residence and homestead. Thanks again --it is interesting to read all of this.

You would file for your homestead credit here in the county tax assessor..

Iowa Homestead Credit

Description: Originally adopted to encourage home ownership through property tax relief. The current credit is equal to the actual tax levy on the first $4,850 of actual value.

Eligibility: Must own and occupy the property as a homestead on July 1 of each year, declare residency in Iowa for income tax purposes and occupy the property for at least six months each year. Persons in the military or nursing homes who do not occupy the home are also eligible.

Filing Requirements: Claim must be filed on or before July 1. Claim is allowed for successive years without further filing as long as eligible.


An example--your county will have these too.


Once you register to vote, claim your homestead for taxes, drivers license, etc there would be no problem with this being considered your homestead here in Iowa.


You can also file an actual declaration here in your county real property deed records, here is that form..


Thanks again.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have a question about my family trying to get this money back from me in other creative ways... Could they possibly say that the money my father gifted to me was meant for a down payment on a home and if for some reason all of that money was not needed for the down payment on the home--and they discovered that it all was not used for the down payment--but I had to use some for other costs/expenses for the home--or expenses down the road --in the first year of ownership--other than the down payment---could they try to get the money back THAT way? Kind of like nonprofits do --when someone gives money to a nonprofit and it has to be used for a specific purpose. Except I am not a nonprofit and the money given to me was was given as a gift for the down payments and other expenses associated with my first home buy. Honestly--my family should not even have access to my expenses for the costs and expenditures of the buy. They should not know how much is going where and when. No one is even asking me where my new home is --and when I am moving in--or if they can have my address etc... They just asked me to move out of my Mothers home because she is upset with me because she wants this money that my Father gifted to me back. Honestly --she KNEW he gifted it to me. And I want to understand why she is now pretending that she does not know this. I am worried about her. At first I thought she was just being mean or greedy about it--now I think she is dealing with some aging issues. She truly does not know the reality and reasoning of the situation. In spite of her estate lawyer showing her the gift letters that my Father signed --which she was aware of. She was aware of all of our discussions and agreements about their support and financial help. It was like a switch went off or something when my Dad died. I think she needs some help.(cognitively) Should I write a letter to her Estate atty --for her trust (my parents trust) file--to note that I do not think that she should be handling or managing her own estate now. I am no expert on aging--but I think she is not acting in a rational way. What worries me more --my siblings are not recognizing this and acting accordingly. They are not supporting me by pulling me aside and saying --"we recognize that Mom is not acting right--and we think it is best for you to leave her house--till we can get her evaluated--but we know Dad gave you the money...." Clearly I do not think THEY can handle her Trust/Estate--because they are beneficiaries of it. And yet my sister (and brother) have been managing her household accounts and her bank accounts. And I am pretty sure they have accompanied her to see her and my Father's financial advisor for their retirement Trust accounts. Can they do that? Esp if they are just POA? And beneficiaries? My Mother is like a child now--she was very dependent on my Father to handle all of the financials --and the household accounts and bills. Now that he is gone --she is leery of using a debit card. She is used to writing only checks. My sister set up her accounts. But I fear she set them up on auto pay---My mother will not know when money is coming out to know how much is left in the account. she will continue to write checks--and possibly bounce some.

She also should not be driving because of a dangerous ride she gave me one day--a day after my dad died. And there were other incidents that give me reason to be concerned. Leaving her purse in an outdoor cart rack--at Wal-Mart. Luckily a good person found it and turned it in to their customer service. She also left the car running in the garage all night. And other things like leaving the stove/oven on. But she has been lying about things he said I did--but never did do. One minute she was telling me what a Godsend I was to be there helping her and my Dad--and then literally the next minute she was on the phone with my siblings telling them a lie about me--saying I was doing something terrible that I was NOT doing. I dont know what I can do to protect myself against that? It is my Mother. she is elderly and she is on a strange campaign against me with my siblings --and now others. It is slander--but I am not sure how to address it--because I am not even sure she is aware she is doing it. I think she is really off. How do I protect myself against that? How do I look out for her --esp when my siblings believe her and are enabling her. She is very convincing--and seems to be very normal. I suppose I can understand why they do not see it--in some cases. On most days. My Father saw it though--before he died. It is a strange kind of negative --intangible force I am up against here.

Well if it was a gift here it was unconditional and you would be free to use it for whatever you choose.Besides the bulk of the funds did go for the downpayment.You would have a civil suit against your mother or any other relatives that defame you.You would have to sue them in the state that they reside.Often folks use a lawyer to send a cease and desist letter threatening such a lawsuit.That might end the defamation of your good name.You can have a local lawyer prepare and send such a letter.

It is a shame here that they have turned on you.They certainly do not have your interests at heart.I am so sorry that you are having to deal with all of this.

Thanks for the follow up.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am just now closing --or about to close on my new house--trying to find the county link to declare the information for the homestead--to protect myself. But you said I had to declare this BEFORE (on or before) July 1 of each year. If I have not actually closed on my home yet--can I declare it yet? My new home is in Linn County Iowa. Technically it is not mine YET--but it will be --officially on July 12th-- on paper it is under contract to be mine now. Does this mean I cannot declare it as my homestead (and protect it ) till next year???

You can declare it the day it closes and deed is filed.You cannot declare it prior to closing, hopefully you can do this prior to July 1st.

If you cannot close by July 1st best you can do is file it and it takes effect next year.You have to own it legally, deed has to be filed here in order for you to declare it.Good luck with the sale and moving on.