What is a Massachusetts Declaration of Homestead?

A Massachusetts Declaration of Homestead, in compliance with Massachusetts laws, protects the declarant’s primary residence against creditors up to a specified dollar amount.

How Much is the Massachusetts Declaration of Homestead Exemption?

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 188 (the “Homestead Law”) protects up to $125,000 in home equity, without filing, and $500,000 for those who file for Homestead protection:[1]

  • If the individual lives in the home or plans to live in the home, and
  • The home, including manufactured or mobile homes, is utilized by the person declaring the Homestead as a primary residence.

Further, each owner who is age sixty-two or older, or disabled can claim a $500,000 exemption. This means that if a couple owns a home together and either party is elderly or disabled, they can each claim a $500,000 exemption, resulting in $1,000,000 in protection.

Does the Massachusetts Homestead Law Protect Individuals Against Secured Claims?

The Homestead Law does not provide protection against tax obligations nor secured claims, such as a residential mortgage; however, a Declaration of Homestead is a means of protecting some of a home’s equity from unsecured creditors.  A Homestead Declaration provides that:

  • A creditor cannot foreclose upon the home to collect a debt;
  • Even after death, an individual’s heirs will still be protected; and
  • A spouse is not required to have his or her name on the title of a home to obtain protection.

Call Our Office to Schedule a Free Consultation with An Experienced Jamaica Plain Estate Planning Attorney.

If you haven’t created an estate plan nor recently updated your estate planning documents, we invite you to call our office at 617-983-2626 to schedule a free consultation with experienced Jamaica Plain estate planning lawyer Bob Grodberg.  Bob can discuss your objectives and assist in creating a pragmatic plan tailored to your needs.