Besides the pride of owning your own home…along with the taxes, homeowner’s insurance, paying for your own repairs, mowing your lawn…you also get certain protections and benefits that aren’t given to renters. Most, though not all, of these protections and benefits are only available if you have filed a Homestead Designation with your local county appraisal district office.

Once you’ve filed the Homestead Designation, then you’re entitled to a homestead exemption on your taxes. This means your property taxes will decrease significantly. For most people, that’s the extent of the benefits. However, there are a few more benefits that may not hit your wallet as quickly, but could save you even more down the road.

One of the other benefits to having your home with a homestead designation is that it protects it from creditors, lawsuits, and debts. Now, the homestead must be your primary residence. You can’t put a homestead on your vacation home or lake house that you visit twice a year. Also, if it’s a rural homestead, it can include up to 200 acres if it’s a family, and 100 acres if it’s a single person. This means that your primary house and the acreage around can be protected from judgments and creditors. However, it doesn’t protect you from the mortgage company that financed your purchase of the homestead…meaning if you default to your mortgage company, your homestead exemption doesn’t protect you.

For a reading of the actual code on this matter, here’s the link to the Property Code, Chapter 41:
http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PR/htm/PR.41.htm

Another benefit to a homestead designation is that if you are married, and your spouse passes away without a Will, then there are certain allowances made to the surviving for a homestead. See our blog article on Allowance in Lieu of Homestead here:

Texas Estates Code to the Rescue: Homestead Protection for a Surviving Spouse

Used in conjunction with a properly prepared Estate Plan (including a Will, a Trust, a Durable Power of Attorney, a Medical Power of Attorney, HIPAA Authorization, Declaration for a Guardianship), a simple homestead designation can not only save you money on your annual property taxes, it can protect your home from creditors and judgments, and can provide your spouse much needed protection in Probate.

Goodluck!

-Blaise Regan
Blaise Regan is a Partner at Regan & Frisbie, PLLC, a law firm focusing on Wills, Trusts, Probate, Contracts, Business Formations (LLC, Corporation, S-Corp Designation), Business Disputes, and Consumer Litigation.

Regan & Frisbie, PLLC is located at 7160 Preston Road, Suite 100, Plano, Texas 75024.

Comments or questions, feel free to email him at Blaise@RFPlawfirm.com or call him at 469.200.4737.
*Nothing in this Article is to be considered as the rendering of legal advice for specific cases, or creating an attorney-client relationship, and readers are responsible for obtaining such advice from their own legal counsel. This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only, and no warranty or representation is made as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein.

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