Q: How do I apply for a homestead estate exemption?
A: In Rhode Island, it's automatic. See:
Courts and Civil Procedure – Procedure Generally
Levy and Sale on Execution
§ 9-26-4.1. Homestead estate exemption.
(a) In addition to the property exempt from attachment as set forth in § 9-26-4, an estate of homestead to the extent of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) in the land and buildings, or personal property that the owner uses as a residence, may be acquired pursuant to this section by an owner of a home or an individual who rightfully possesses the premises by lease, as a life tenant, as a beneficiary of a revocable or irrevocable trust or otherwise, and who occupies or intends to occupy the home as his or her principal residence. The estate of homestead provided pursuant to this section shall be automatic by operation of law, and without any requirement or necessity for the filing of a declaration, a statement in a deed, or any other documentation. The estate shall be exempt from the laws of attachment, levy on execution, and sale for payment of debts or legacies, except in the following cases:
(1) Sale for taxes, sewer liens, water liens, lighting district assessments, and fire district assessments;
(2) For a debt contracted prior to the acquisition of the estate of homestead;
(3) For a debt contracted for the purchase of the home;
(4) Upon an order issued by the family court to enforce its judgment that a spouse pay a certain amount weekly or otherwise for the support of a spouse or minor children;
(5) Where a building or buildings are situated on land not owned by the owner of a homestead estate are attached, levied upon or sold for the ground rent of the lot upon which the building or buildings are situated;
(6) For a debt due to, or a lien in favor of, the department of human services and/or the state of Rhode Island for reimbursement of medical assistance, as provided for in § 40-8-15;
(7) For a debt heretofore or hereafter owing to a federally insured deposit-taking institution or a person regulated or licensed under title 19.
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