A declaration of homestead protects a person’s principal residence from creditors. Changes to the Massachusetts homestead law (G.L. c. 188, .s 1-10) effective in March 2011 make it easier than ever to declare a homestead and secure this valuable protection in these unpredictable economic times.
First, the revised homestead law now gives automatic protection of $125,000.00 on a home that does not declare a homestead exemption with the Registry of Deeds.
Second, if you own any interest in property and occupy or intend to occupy the home as a principal residence you may file for a homestead exemption. This declaration of homestead will protect against attachment, seizure, execution on judgment, levy or sale for the payment of debts to the extent of $500,000.00 per residence, per family.
People who are disabled or 62 years of age or older, regardless of marital status, will be exempt up to$500,000.00 each. If two owners qualify, the aggregate protection is $1,000,000.00.
The homestead, however, does not protect against a mortgage on the home, enforcement of judgment for alimony or child support, sale for taxes, a lien on the home recorded prior to acquisition of the homestead.
The declaration of homestead benefits each owner named on the homestead and each of the owner’s family members who reside in the home or later reside in the home. Neither divorce nor remarriage will affect the homestead of the spouse who still resides in the home.
The $500,000.00 homestead ban be obtained by hiring an attorney to prepare the document or obtaining the form online at salemdeeds.com and filling it out, signing the documents before a nota5ry public, and filing it with the Registry of Deeds for recording together with the $35.00 filing fee.