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Introduced Version House Bill 2769 History

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hb2769 intr
H. B. 2769


(By Delegates Hunt and Louisos)
[Introduced
March 1, 2005 ; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]




A BILL to amend and reenact §38-9-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to homestead exemptions; clarifying provisions establishing a limited exemption from attachment for debts for hospital or medical expenses incurred from a catastrophic illness or injury; providing technical revisions; increasing the exemption; removing requirement for the promulgation of legislative rules; and providing for liberal construction in favor of debtors.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §38-9-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 9. HOMESTEAD EXEMPTIONS.
§38-9-3. Debts enforceable against homestead.
(a) As of the effective date of this article seventh day of June, one thousand nine hundred seventy-four, a homestead shall be exempt up to the value of five thousand dollars from all debts and liabilities, except debts incurred for the purchase money thereof of the homestead, or for the erection of permanent improvements thereon on the homestead, and claims for taxes or county or district or municipal levies due thereon on the homestead. The exemption herein granted in this section by operation of law shall not render the homestead exempt from liens and all other debts and liabilities contracted and incurred prior to the effective date of this article seventh day of June, one thousand nine hundred seventy-four: Provided, That with respect to a homestead exemption up to one thousand dollars perfected by execution and recordation of a written instrument as required under the former provisions of this article in effect prior to the seventh day of June, one thousand nine hundred seventy-four, such the exemption shall for all purposes continue to be governed by such the former provisions of this article.
(b)(1) In addition to the exemption provided in subsection (a) of this section, and subject to the provisions of section eleven-c, article five, chapter nine of this code, effective the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-six, a homestead shall be exempt up to the value of seven thousand five hundred dollars from all debts and liabilities for hospital or medical expenses incurred from a catastrophic illness or injury. Effective the first day of July, two thousand five, the exemption shall be increased up to the value of fifty thousand dollars.
(2) For purposes of this section subsection, "catastrophic illness or injury" means a medically verified illness or injury for which any insurance or other applicable benefits have been exhausted, and which incapacitates and creates a financial hardship upon the debtor, his or her the debtor's spouse, or sibling or other dependent, of the debtor who uses the homestead as a principal home at the time the debt was incurred and for which there is no insurance or for which any insurance or other applicable benefit has been exhausted.
(3) The exemption provided by this section granted by the provisions of this subsection shall expire upon the date of the death of the debtor, the death of the debtor's spouse or the death of a disabled dependent of the debtor who uses the homestead as a principal home, whichever is the later.
(4) The exemption provided pursuant to granted by the provisions of this subsection by operation of law shall not render the homestead exempt from liens and all or other debts and liabilities for hospital or medical expenses contracted and incurred prior to the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-six.
The tax commissioner shall propose for promulgation legislative rules, not inconsistent with this section, in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, to establish the procedures for exempting homesteads from debts and liabilities incurred from a catastrophic illness or injury.
(c) The amendments to this section enacted during the regular session of the Legislature in the year two thousand five, are intended to clarify the intent of the Legislature in establishing the exemption granted by the provisions of subsection(b) of this section, to increase the exemption effective the first day of July, two thousand five, and to provide other technical revisions to this section, and to this end, it is the intent of the Legislature that the provisions of this section are to be liberally construed in favor of a debtor claiming a homestead exemption for debts incurred from a catastrophic illness or injury.


NOTE: This bill increases the homestead exemption up to the value of fifty thousand dollars effective July 1, 2005. The bill also provides that a homestead is not exempt from liens or other debts and liabilities for hospital or medical expenses incurred from a catastrophic illness or injury.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

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