In Massachusetts an estate of homestead protects a homeowner’s primary residence from the claims of certain creditors. Prior to the change in the law the declaration of homestead protected the equity in the home for up to $500,000 of its equity in the event the home owner is sued. That is, if a homeowner is successfully sued in court, $500,000 of the home’s equity could not be touched by an attachment and or execution of sale by the judgment creditor. To acquire the homestead a homeowner would need to file a written declaration and record it with the county Registry of Deeds.
The Massachusetts Legislature has recently passed long awaited revisions to the Massachusetts Homestead Act. The revised law now provides automatic protection up to $125,000 on a homeowner’s primary residence, and a written homestead can also be filed to increase the protection up to $500.000. The act also provides homeowners additional protection:
- An automatic homestead exemption of $125,000 is now provided for all Massachusetts homeowners for protection against certain creditor claims on their primary residence.
- Homeowners are eligible for a $500,000 homestead exemption by filing a written declaration of homestead at the county registry of deeds.
- A written homestead declaration can now be signed by both husband and wife.
- Homeowners who already have a written homestead are still covered up to $500.000.
- Homes held in trust can be declared as a homestead by the trustee.
- If a single person who has a homestead gets married, the homestead automatically protects the new spouse!
- A homestead can now pass on to the surviving spouse and children who live in the home.
- You do not have to re-file a homestead after a refinance.
- In all mortgage transactions the closing attorneys must now provide the mortgagor with a written notice of availability of a homestead.
As a matter of practice our office had always provided new homeowner’s with a professionally prepared declaration of homestead for a nominal fee. Now homeowners will automatically benefit from the automatic coverage. We can assist any homeowner who would like to declare a written homestead to receive the full $500,000 of protection. Contact our office for more information.