An estate of homestead is only available for a persons primary residence. The new homestead law took effect on March 16, 2011.

Below is a link to an eight page document authored by Secretary Galvin’s office regarding the homestead law entitled: The Homestead Act: Questions and Answers. If you read this document, you will know everything you would ever want to know about the law in Massachusetts.

Here is a brief summary for those of us too busy to read 8 pages:

  1. Homeowners are entitled to an automatic homestead protection worth $125,000.
  2. If you properly sign and record a declaration of homestead with the registry of deeds, the amount of protection increases to $500,000.
  3. The declared homestead protects against attachment, seizure, execution on judgment, levy or sale for the payment of debts.
  4. Additional protections exist for people who are disabled or 62 or over.
  5. The homestead law does not protect you from: federal, state, and local taxes, assessments, claims and liens, mortgage foreclosures, probate court executions.

How does the Massachusetts law compare with other New England states? See for yourself…

New Hampshire

The highlight: New Hampshire’s is also automatic but the amount is only up to $100,000 per person.

Maine

The highlight: you have to live there for 12 months before you can even apply! Massachusetts has no such requirement.