What is a Homestead? A Declaration of Homestead (or “Homestead Act”) is a Massachusetts General Law (M.G.L. c. 188) that protects Massachusetts homeowners from having their primary residence sold to pay unsecured creditor’s claims, such as utility bills, credit cards and lawsuits. The Massachusetts Declaration of Homestead protects the equity in a person’s primary residence for up to $500,000 if a lawsuit is brought against the property owner.
A homestead is strongly recommended to any individual buying a single-family home, a condominium or a mobile or manufactured home in Massachusetts as it will ensure that the Buyer’s principal residence is exempt from creditors using it to satisfy judgments in favor of the creditors. The Homestead can also protect against an accident or incident which occurs on your property where you are found to be negligent, obligations to creditors where the homeowner failed to pay, or business liabilities if you as the homeowner also operate a business that is not an entity.
To be eligible for the filing for the Homestead Act you must own and occupy the property as your principal residence. If you are married, only one spouse will need to file.
There are certain situations that are exempt from the Homestead Act, which may include a sale for Federal, state, or local taxes assessments claims and liens; A mortgage on the home; An execution issued from the Probate & Family Court to enforce judgement for the support of a spouse former spouse or child.
A court of competent jurisdiction can enforce their judgment based on fraud, mistake, duress, undue influence or lack of capacity and any lien on the home recorded prior to the creation of the homestead.
A Declaration of Homestead can be prepared by our office and recorded with the County Registry of Deeds where the residence is located and, the benefits of having this homestead on your residence are endless, ensuring protection for you and your loved ones.