New York law provides that a homeowner can keep up to $50,000 worth of equity in his or her home provided that the homeowner lives in that property as his or her primary residence. The homestead exemption is per person in New York. Therefore, if a husband and wife own the property jointly and both live in it as their primary residence then they are entitled to a $100,000 exemption.
Unsecured creditors are not generally entitled to the equity money that is protected by the homestead exemption. So, as long as the homeowner does not own significantly more than the exempt amount of his or her home and can continue to make regular mortgage payments, the homeowner will likely keep the house in a bankruptcy proceeding.
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