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What is Homestead Exemption Law in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts, like many states, has something called a Homestead Exemption Law – what is it, and how can it protect you as a homeowner in Massachusetts? Learn more about the eligibility requirements and benefits to signing a Declaration of Homestead.

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Homestead Exemption Laws are common across the United States, and while the details of these laws vary by state, they are all aimed at protecting property owners’ equity from liabilities like lawsuits, tax liens, claims, and bankruptcy.

It goes without saying that taking full advantage of Homestead Exemption Laws is a no-brainer for homeowners. Below, we’ll explore exactly what Homestead Exemption Laws cover in Massachusetts, who is eligible, the benefits, and how to file.

Please note that the information below is specific to the Massachusetts Homestead Exemption Law. Many states have Homestead Exemptions, and homeowners should check the Homestead Exemption Laws specific to their state.

What Does Homestead Exemption Law Protect My Property From?

Homestead Exemption Law in Massachusetts, like in other states, is designed to protect property owners and their spouses from a range of liabilities. So what exactly do these laws protect your residence against? While they don’t provide blanket protection, Homestead Exemption Law in Massachusetts protects homeowners who are contemplating a bankruptcy filing, facing a lawsuit, have a tax lien, or have received a claim from a creditor.

What Does Homestead Exemption Law Not Protect My Residence From?

While Homestead Exemption Law offers important protections for homeowners and their spouses, there are some notable exceptions to what Homestead Exemption protections cover:
  • Your mortgage

  • A tax lien recorded prior to obtaining Homestead protection

  • The sale of your home for tax liens, claims, or assessments

  • A spouse or child support order enforced by a Probate Court

  • A court order based on fraud, duress, lack of capacity, mistake, or undue influence

How Can Homestead Exemption Law Protect Me From Bankruptcy?

Obtaining Homestead Exemption protection in Massachusetts will offer you important protection for your primary residence in the event you file for bankruptcy. If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have Homestead Exemption protection you will be able to keep a more significant portion of the proceeds from the sale of your home or avoid having to sell your home altogether. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, Homestead Exemption protection will allow you to reduce the amount of you have to pay to unsecured creditors.

How Much Protection Does Homestead Exemption Law Offer in Massachusetts?

How much does Homestead Exemption Law protect against in Massachusetts? Primary residences are automatically protected up to $125,000 – no Homestead Declaration needs to be filed to qualify for this protection. But what if you feel this amount is insufficient to protect the equity you’ve built in your home? By simply filing a claim for Homestead Exemption with an application through the Registry of Deeds in the county where your property is located (there is a filing fee of $35 plus any additional county fees), you will receive the Homestead Exemption protection up to $500,000 in protection. These applications are often available online, but you can also go directly to your county offices to file your application.

Who is Eligible to Qualify for the Homestead Exemption in Massachusetts?

Wondering what eligibility requirements are to apply for Homestead Exemption protection? As stated above, if you are a homeowner whose primary residence is a property in Massachusetts, you automatically receive up to $125,000 in Homestead Exemption protection. Anyone who owns and occupies a primary residence in Massachusetts may apply for additional Homestead Exemption protection. This means that anyone including individual homeowners, married couples, and anyone who owns a home with an unrelated person may file an application to receive the exemption.

If there are more than two joint homeowners of a property, it may even be possible to receive additional exemption protection. Beneficiaries of a trust can also claim homestead protection, similarly to joint owners, and the amount of protection will be allocated according to their respective ownership of the property.

With a suite of innovative lending products and services, Marino & Marino, P.C. can help make your dream of homeownership a reality. Wondering which option is the best for you? Our team is ready to help. Contact us today!

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