The question is, does putting your personal residence into a Land Trust prevent you from qualifying for the Homestead Exemption?
A beneficial interest in a Land Trust is personal property and, as a result, most beneficiaries have no interest, either legal or equitable, in the real estate held in a Land Trust (Sterling Savings and Loan Association v. Schultz, 71 Ill. App. 2d 94, 218 N. E. 2d 53 1st Dist. 1966).
Before January 1982, to determine whether an estate of homestead attached to a beneficial interest in a Land Trust, detailed facts pertaining to the creation of the Trust had to be alleged, in addition to satisfying the statutory requirement of being a householder with a family and occupying the land as a residence (Hutter v. Lake View Trust and Savings Bank, 54 Ill. App. 3d 653, 12 Ill. Dec. 424, 370 N. E. 2d 47 1st Dist. 1977).
Effective January 1982, however, the homestead exemption was amended in Illinois. It now provides: “Every individual is entitled to an estate of homestead to the extent in value of $7,500.00 of his or her interest in a farm or lot of land and buildings thereon, a condominium, or person property, owned or rightly possessed by lease or otherwise and occupied by him or her as a residence…” 735 ILCS 5/12-901 (1994).
Pursuant to the1982 act, the only threshold criteria for one wishing to assert a homestead right is whether that person occupied the land as a residence. Bank of Illmo v. Simmons, 142 Ill. App. 3d 742, 97 Ill. Dec. 4, 492 N. E. 2d 207 (5th Dist. 1986)
Call your local assessor’s office and ask them. There may be exemption language they can give you to put on the deed to trustee to allow you to keep the exemption