2010 Tennessee Code
Title 26 - Execution
Chapter 2 - ExemptionsGarnishment
Part 3 - Homestead Exemptions
26-2-301 - Basic exemption.

26-2-301. Basic exemption.

(a)  An individual, whether a head of family or not, shall be entitled to a homestead exemption upon real property which is owned by the individual and used by the individual or the individual's spouse or dependent, as a principal place of residence. The aggregate value of such homestead exemption shall not exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000); provided, individuals who jointly own and use real property as their principal place of residence shall be entitled to homestead exemptions, the aggregate value of which exemptions combined shall not exceed seven thousand five hundred dollars ($7,500), which shall be divided equally among them in the event the homestead exemptions are claimed in the same proceeding; provided, if only one (1) of the joint owners of real property used as their principal place of residence is involved in the proceeding wherein homestead exemption is claimed, then the individual's homestead exemption shall be five thousand dollars ($5,000). The homestead exemption shall not be subject to execution, attachment, or sale under legal proceedings during the life of the individual. Upon the death of an individual who is head of a family, any such exemption shall inure to the benefit of the surviving spouse and their minor children for as long as the spouse or the minor children use such property as a principal place of residence.

(b)  If a marital relationship exists, a homestead exemption shall not be alienated or waived without the joint consent of the spouses.

(c)  The homestead exemption shall not operate against public taxes nor shall it operate against debts contracted for the purchase money of such homestead or improvements thereon nor shall it operate against any debt secured by the homestead when the exemption has been waived by written contract.

(d)  A deed, installment deed, mortgage, deed of trust, or any other deed or instrument by any other name whatsoever conveying property in which there may be a homestead exemption, duly executed, conveys the property free of homestead exemption, but the homestead exemption may not be waived in a note, other instrument evidencing debt, or any other instrument not conveying property in which homestead exemption may be claimed.

(e)  Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) to the contrary, an unmarried individual who is sixty-two (62) years of age or older shall be entitled to a homestead exemption not exceeding twelve thousand five hundred dollars ($12,500) upon real property that is owned by the individual and used by the individual as a principal place of residence; a married couple, one (1) of whom is sixty-two (62) years of age or older and the other of whom is younger than sixty-two (62) years of age, shall be entitled to a homestead exemption not exceeding twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) upon real property that is owned by one (1) or both of the members of the couple and used by the couple as their principal place of residence; and a married couple, both of whom are sixty-two (62) years of age or older, shall be entitled to a homestead exemption not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) upon real property that is owned by one (1) or both of the members of the couple and used by the couple as their principal place of residence.

(f)  Notwithstanding subsection (a) to the contrary, an individual who has one (1) or more minor children in the individual's custody shall be entitled to a homestead exemption not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) on real property that is owned by the individual and used by the individual as a principal place of residence.

[Acts 1870, ch. 80, § 1; 1870-1871, ch. 71, § 4; 1879, ch. 171, §§ 1, 2; Shan., § 3798; mod. Code 1932, § 7719; Acts 1933, ch. 72, § 1; 1943, ch. 131, § 1; C. Supp. 1950, § 7719; Acts 1975, ch. 285, § 1; 1979, ch. 61, § 1; 1980, ch. 919, § 1; T.C.A., § 26-301; Acts 2004, ch. 659, § 1; 2007, ch. 560, § 1.]  
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