The right to own property is often considered one of the founding principles of American jurisprudence. Like many other states, Mississippi recognizes the right of homestead exemptions. A homestead exemption is a legal protection for the value of a home offered to those who face property taxes, creditors, or other related circumstances arising from the death of a spouse.
Under Mississippi law you have the right to keep your property free from collections actions and other creditors to a certain extent. Homeowners can keep up to 160 acres, or $75,000 in equity, which ever is lower, outside the reach of creditors. To qualify for this protection, the property owner must occupy the property as his or her primary residence.
To take advantage of the homestead exemption, property owners must file a homestead claim with the county tax assessor's office in the county in which they live. In the case of a spouse's death, the homestead exemption will also extend to the surviving spouse or to the couple's minor children.
Homestead Exemption Filings
When filing for homestead exemption, Mississippi residents must provide: their last tax bill or a recorded warranty deed, a drivers license with the current residential address, Social Security number and Mississippi vehicle registrations reflecting the current residential address. Once filed with the county tax assessor's office, these filings will automatically be renewed as long as there has been no change in title, marital status, or change of address.
Buying a new home in Mississippi will make you eligible for the homestead exemption provided you do not already have a current homestead exemption filed. (A new home doesn't have to be recently constructed, merely newly purchased by the owner.) If the home purchased had already been claimed as a homestead exemption by the previous owner, the new owner will have rights to that homestead exemption for the remainder of the calendar year in which the sale was made. The new owner must then file for a homestead exemption in his name the following year.