Does the homestead exemption protect against every creditor?
No. Some creditors can override homestead protection and claim your home equity. These creditors include the IRS and other federal agencies. If you owe federal taxes or are sued by the SEC or the EPA, for example, you might lose your home. Also, your homestead laws may or may not protect your home from the state tax collector. This depends on your state law. Spouses in a divorce or family members who challenge their inheritances can also override the homestead laws, as can plaintiffs suing for intentional torts (libel, fraud, deceit, etc.). Of course, mortgages or deeds of trust, voluntarily granted to creditors as collateral, are unaffected by homestead. These lenders have full recourse to the home as do creditors where you specifically waive your homestead protection. Some state homestead laws also only protect the home against debts incurred after the homestead protection was claimed. This is a common restriction.