Massachusetts Law About Homestead
Ch. 108 of the Acts of 2012, Section 15 signed May 31, 2012, adds new §(e) to MGL. c. 188, providing for homestead protection for our servicemembers and their families.
- Automatically protects up to $125,000 in home equity without filing
- Protects up to $500,000 for those who file for homestead protection
- Allows both spouses to file
- Clarifies that there is no need to re-file after refinancing
- Provides coverage for homes kept in trusts
- and much more.
Boyle v. Weiss, 461 Mass. 519 (2012). Under 2004 (not 2010) law, "a holder of a beneficial interest in a trust which holds title to real estate and attendant dwelling in which such beneficiary resides may not acquire an estate of homestead in said land and building under G.L. c. 188, § 1. "
In Re Desroches, 314 BR 19 (2004). Homestead protection was denied where the mortgage was filed after an earlier homestead declaration and mortgage did not specifically reserve the debtor's homestead rights.
Selected Case Law
In Re Cunningham, 354 BR 547 (2006). Where land subject to the bankruptcy debtor's homestead exemption was sold, the exemption protected the sale proceeds from any obligations acquired before the debtor filed the bankruptcy petition.
In Re Weinstein, 217 BR 5 (Bkrtcy. D. Mass., 1998). Agrees with Whalen-Griffin and goes on to include both unsecured and secured pre-homestead debt under bankruptcy protection.
In Re Whalen-Griffin, 206 BR 277 (Bkrtcy. D. Mass., 1997). Court said that federal bankruptcy statute preempted Massachusetts homestead exemptions. Effect is to protect homesteads from liens, even where debts are incurred prior to homestead recording.
Deeds and Homestead Releases, Lowell Deeds Blog. Discusses the issues involved with a non-titled spouse and the transfer of property.
Homestead, Lowell Deeds Blog. Collection of blog posts from the ever-helpful Lowell Register of deeds. Explains the law in some detail.
Massachusetts Registries of Deeds, Mass. Secretary of State. Provides links to all of the Registries of Deeds, which then provide access to addresses, phone numbers and websites for the individual registries.
A Video Guide to the New Massachusetts Homestead Act, "Allan Knowles, Underwriter, and Christopher Strynar, New England Regional Manager, for Westcor New England Land Title Insurance Company discuss the new changes to the Massachusetts Homestead Act."