NV Court: Homestead Law Extends Only to Residence

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - When it comes to bankruptcy, the Nevada Supreme Court says a debtor must actually live in a residence to claim homestead protection.

In a unanimous opinion Thursday, justices clarified the state's homestead law at the request of the federal bankruptcy court in a case involving a home owned jointly by a divorced couple.

Nevada law allows homeowners to file a declaration of homestead, which protects up to $550,000 of a person's equity in their primary residence from financial judgments such as bankruptcy.

At issue was whether David Nilsson can claim the protection in his bankruptcy case for a home he owns jointly with his ex-wife, even though he hasn't lived there since 2006.

Justices said no, ruling that a homestead declaration must involve someone's bona fide residence.