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Declaration of Homestead

As part of your New Years’ Resolution consider filing a Declaration of Homestead. People often do not realize that one of the easiest and cheapest ways to protect the equity in your family home is to file a Declaration of Homestead. For a filing fee of $35.00, you can file the Declaration of Homestead with the Registry of Deeds in your county. Forms are available at the Registry of Deeds website here or you can have your attorney prepare a Declaration of Homestead for you when you purchase or refinance your home.

Some frequently asked questions:


1. What is a Declaration of Homestead?

An Owner Occupant who records a declaration of Homestead is entitled to an exemption in the amount of $500,000.00 which allows the owner’s family to have greater protection than the $125,000.00 automatic homestead that every owner’ receives automatically without filing any paperwork with the Registry of Deeds. An elderly /disabled homeowner is also entitled to a $500,00.00 homestead exemption if the owner is 62 years old or legally disabled. If one spouse is over 62 and one is younger than 62, each spouse can record their own homestead with the Registry. Contact your attorney to discuss your personal situation.

2. What are the advantages of recording a Declaration of Homestead with the Registry of Deeds?

Suppose you were in a car accident and someone sued you for more than the value of your auto insurance policy. The homestead would be protection in case that person won a judgement against you and attempted to collect against your house. The homestead protects against most unsecured creditors, but certain debts are excluded from the homestead protection such as a mortgage on the home; a sale for taxes; an execution from a Probate Court for support of a spouse, former spouse or minor children; an execution for judgment based on fraud, mistake duress, undue influence or lack of capacity; and a lien on the home recorded prior to the creation of the homestead.

3. If the family home is owned by a trust, can you still record a Declaration of Homestead?

Yes. The trustee may file a Declaration of Homestead and indicate which beneficiaries are occupying or intend to occupy the home as their principal residence.

For additional information see the following:

www.mass.gov


www.sec.state.ma.us

If you would like a free initial consultation to discuss creating your personalized comprehensive estate plan, please contact the Law Offices of Martin I. Flax, P.C. at

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