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Puerto Rico Homestead Protection Act

Puerto Rico Homestead Protection Act

The new Puerto Rico Homestead Act (Act No. 195 of 2011) protects individuals domiciled in Puerto Rico from judgments against their principal residence under certain circumstances and regardless of the value of the residence. The previous act limited this protection to $15K.

The homestead protection applies to real property consisting of a parcel of land and the structure located thereon that is legally owned by an individual or head of family and occupied exclusively by that person and his or her family as a principal residence. Only one property can be claimed for homestead protection.

The law protects the principal residence against judgments in malpractice and tort cases, as well as collection actions related to debts not secured by the principal residence. This protection survives the death of one of the spouses in favor of the other. After the death of both spouses, it survives in favor of their children until the youngest attains legal age. In the case of unmarried individuals, the homestead protection survives their death in favor of their ascendants or descendants up to the third degree of consanguinity or affinity until the youngest child attains legal age.

The right to homestead exemption cannot be waived. Leasing of the principal residence does not waive the right if the beneficiary relocates temporarily to another residence for work, study, military or diplomatic services, or as a result of disease of the beneficiary or any family member up to the third degree of consanguinity or affinity, as long as another property acquired is not also claimed as a protected homestead.

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