The Homestead Act allows Massachusetts homeowners to protect their home from future creditors.
On December 16, 2010 Governor Deval Patrick signed the new Homestead Ac t (the "Act") known as Chapter 395 of the Acts of 2010, which re-writes the Current Homestead Law (M.G.L. c.188).
Effective March 16, 2011 there is law effective in Massachusetts regarding the Declaration of Homestead.
The new Act allows homeowners to choose between an Automatic Homestead, which is effective without a written declaration and a written Declaration of Homestead.
The amount of the Automatic Homestead protection is $125,000. When a written Declaration of Homestead is filed the exemption increases to $500,000. Both the homeowner and his/her spouse must sign the declaration form.
Additional provisions in the new Act
•· Declaration of Homestead is available to property held in Trust, although the Trust beneficiary must be identified in the declaration as the beneficiary of the Homestead. Only the Trustee would execute the Homestead Declaration form.
•· Special homestead exemptions for the elderly and disabled continue to be available (M.G.L. c 188 s. 2).
•· Homestead cannot be created within a Deed or other title vesting document.
•· Anyone who has already filed a Declaration of Homestead will continue to be protected and their homestead rights will be governed under the new "Act."
•· Homestead filed pursuant to the new Act is automatically subordinate to mortgages.
•· If a single homeowner marries, the new spouse can benefit from the existing Homestead.
•· Homestead may be released as follows
• Deed from the owner and non-owner spouse to a third party
• Termination of homestead signed by filer and his/her spouse
• Recording of a new Declaration of Homestead
• No longer using the property as primary residence
For questions or to seek assistance in filing a Declaration of Homestead, please Contact us.