Q. I own a property and will be getting married. What are “Homestead Rights”?
A. Under New Hampshire law, Homestead Rights refer to the right of ownership a spouse has in the primary place of residence of the married couple. It doesn’t matter whether the property was purchased before or after the marriage. This right protects the spouses interest in the property against creditors and ensures that they maintain an interest in the premise and cannot have the property sold out from underneath them without their consent.
Even if the spouse of a property owner is not a record owner (they are not named on the deed), the spouse may still have a $100,000 homestead interest in their husband’s or wife’s property. This is a lifetime right that can only be terminated by an affirmative release by the spouse – by signing a “Release of Homestead Right”.
The Homestead Right is inferior to tax liens and certain mechanic’s liens. Conveyances of the particular property to a third party will not terminate the homestead right, unless both parties are named in the granting clause of the deed.
Homestead Rights in the property are released when spouses convey the property through a correctly prepared deed. No separate release is required. In your case, if and when you sell your property, your spouse’s signature will be required on the deed.