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A declaration of homestead makes your home off limits to creditors. But there are a few big exceptions:

1. Government Liens

All government liens–whether federal, state, or local–are exempt from your homestead protection.  These include federal and state income tax liens as well as local real estate tax liens and assessments.

2. Alimony and Child Support

A probate court judge can issue a lien to enforce a judgment for alimony or child support payments.  Such a lien is exempt from your declaration of homestead.

3. Pre-Existing Liens

You cannot protect yourself from pre-existing liens by recording a declaration of homestead.  Therefore, it’s important that you have the title to a house examined before you buy it.  Also, homeowners should record a declaration of homestead as soon as the can–preferably on the same day they purchase their real estate.

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