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California’s Amended Homestead Exemption Provides Increased Protection for Homeowners

By Erwin J. Shustak, Esq., partner, and Keith Collins, law clerk of Shustak Reynolds & Partners, P.C. posted on Wednesday, December 2, 2020.

A homestead exemption protects a specified dollar amount of a debtor’s equity in his or her principal dwelling from attachment by a judgment creditor. In California, debtors are automatically protected by the homestead exemption contained in California Code of Civil Procedure section 704.730. Currently, section 704.730 provides a judgment debtor $75,000 to $175,000 of protection based on a multitude of factors including family, age, and income. Under current law, a single judgment debtor has an exemption of $75,000 of equity, while a husband and wife enjoy an exemption of $100,000. The exemption may be increased to the maximum of $175,000 if the judgment debtor meets specific age, disability, and/or income requirements.

Acknowledging that for most California homeowners the current Homestead Exemptions are inadequate to offer meaningful protection to their principal home, California recently adopted a significant overhaul of its Homestead Exemption. Effective January 1, 2021, California’s Homestead Exemption will be between $300,000 and $600,000 based on the county median home sale price in which a debtor’s home is located. If the home is in a county with a median sale price of $300,000 or less, the exemption will be $300,000. If the home is in a county with a median sale price greater than $300,000, the exemption will be equal to the median sale price up to a maximum of $600,000.

The amended exemption greatly increases protection for a judgment debtor’s equity in their principal residence. The new protection will make it more difficult to collect on a court ordered judgment and may require a reevaluation of strategy for both plaintiffs and defendants in many cases. If you have questions about how the amended Homestead Exemption affects you, contact Shustak Reynolds and Partners today for a confidential and complimentary consultation.

Shustak Reynolds & Partners, P.C. focuses its practice on securities and financial services law and complex business disputes. 
We represent many broker-dealers, registered representatives, investment advisors, investors and businesses. 
Attorney Erwin J. Shustak can be reached in the firm’s San Diego office at (619) 696-9500. 

 

 

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