The Massachusetts Homestead Act is a law under which a homeowner is protected by an Estate of Homestead. A homestead estate provides limited protection of the value of the home, up to $500,000, against unsecured creditor claims. By placing a Declaration of Homestead on a principal residence, a homeowner secures his or her home from creditors seeking to force the sale of the residence in order to satisfy debt. This protection is available to single or married homeowners for any home so long as the owner or covered family member occupies or intends to occupy the property as his or her principal place of residence.
A Declaration of Homestead does not prevent the mortgage lender from attaching and selling the residence if the owner(s) is in default of their mortgage, nor will it prevent attachment and sale due to unpaid federal and state taxes, court orders for child support and court orders for spousal support.
A Declaration of Homestead is filed with the Registry of Deeds in the county where the property is located and references the deed and title of the property. Almost all attorneys now prepare a Declaration of Homestead as a part of the closing package as long as the property is a principal residence for the home buyer.
If you have any questions about the Declaration of Homestead, make sure to ask your attorney before closing the sale of your home. If you have already purchased a home and do not have a Declaration of Homestead, a real estate attorney can prepare one for you and file it with the Registry of Deeds for a fee around ($100-$150).