The Homestead Act
A major revision to Massachusetts Homestead Law took effect on March 16, 2011.
Chapter 395 of the Acts of 2010, an Act Relative to the Estate of Homestead, revises and replaces the provisions of the Massachusetts homestead protection law, General Laws Chapter 188. An overview of the new Homestead reform legislation, effective on March 16, 2011, is provided in Secretary’s Galvin’s Homestead Act Questions and Answers pamphlet.
Some of the highlights of the new law are as follows:
- As of March 16, 2011 all Massachusetts homeowners will receive an automatic homestead exemption of $125,000.00 for protection against certain creditor claims. By virtue of owning your home and using it as your principal residence you receive the $125,000.00 exemption.
- All Massachusetts homeowners who own a home as their primary residence are eligible for a $500,000.00 “declared homestead exemption” via a written declaration filed with the Registry of Deeds where the property is located.
- All existing estates of homestead in effect as of March 16, 2011 will continue in full force and effect notwithstanding the change in the homestead law. That means you do not need to re-file if you have already filed a homestead to have the full $500,000.00 protection.
- You do not have to re-file a homestead after a refinance.
- Homesteads can now be declared on 2 to 4 family homes and for homes held in Trust.
- In all mortgage transactions the closing attorney/settlement agent will have to provide the borrowers with written notice of the availability of an option for a “declared homestead exemption”.
For properties in Dukes County, make sure the check is made payable to the Dukes County Registry of Deeds. If you have any further questions or concerns about how the Registry of Deeds can assist you in filing a declaration of Homestead, please do not hesitate to contact the Registry of Deeds office directly.
The Declaration of Homestead may be filed in person or by mail. To file by mail in Dukes County, mail the completed notarized declaration, together with a check for the amount of the fee ($36.00) payable to: Dukes County Registry of Deeds
Mail to: Dukes County Registry of Deeds
PO Box 5231
Edgartown, MA 02539
Select the Homestead form that applies to your situation:
If you you’d like to view and download the Secretary’s Homestead Q & A pamphlet then click below.