Skip to main content

Is it possible to have a homestead exemption of $300,000?

Boston, MA |

I was considering bankruptcy, and had a local attorney check my Declaration of Homestead exemption, and according to the courts, my exemption is $300,000. I had always thought that it was only $125,000.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 7

Posted

I don't practice law in your state, but this link from the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries said that you automatically get an exemption of $125,000 and can protect up to $500,000 with a declared homestead: http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/subject/about/homestead.html. You should confirm thiswiht a local bankruptcy attorney.

First, the firm is a debt relief agency according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. We help people file for bankruptcy. We also do other stuff and we do it well, but Congress wants me to post this notice. Second, nothing on this site is legal advice. You are not my client unless you enter into a written agreement signed by you and me.

Posted

The automatic homestead, meaning no Declaration of Homestead has been recorded, is $125,000. If you record a Declaration of Homestead you get an $500,000 exemption. Before 2004, the Declaration of Homestead was $300,00. So you probably filed a Declaration of Homestead pre-2004 and are entitled to an exception of at least that amount.

Asker

Posted

i bought the house in 2012...And just recently checked my records saying it was at $300,000

Sebastian Korth

Sebastian Korth

Posted

If you have more than $300,000 of equity in your home this may be issue. You'll have to talk to lawyer or other real estate specialist to see if you can get this corrected so you can get the full $500,000 exemption.

Alex R. Hess

Alex R. Hess

Posted

Even if she filed a homestead prior to 2004, she is entitled to take the full $500,000 exemption now since the bankruptcy code will apply and entitle the debtor to take the full exemption allowed by state law at the time of filing. Assuming she's preparing the petition now and filing this year, she is entitled to $500,000 protection towards her equity.

Posted

Mr. Korth practices in Massachusetts. I don't.

The legal analysis of any situation depends on a variety of factors which cannot be properly represented or accounted for in a response to an on-line question. Any answer, discussion or information is intended as general information only, is not intended to serve as legal advice or as a substitute for legal counsel, and should not be relied upon in making any decision. If you have a question about a specific factual situation, you should contact an attorney directly.

Posted

You really need to indicate how long you have lived in Boston from this point going back before you can rely on any answers on exemptions that have been provided! That is crucial. Lets assume you have lived there the last 5 years straight...then no problem. THus, you might just add those facts to your stated question please so the attorneys know for sure their advice will be accurate as the laws changed back in 2005 concerning that issue. Good luck.

Asker

Posted

I've lived in Boston since June of 2012

Posted

Your Homestead exemption would not count in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a purposeful and voluntary action whereby you GIVE interest in your assets. It is akin to your Homestead not protecting you from foreclosure. You are entitled to the exemption allowed by the Bankruptcy code.

No attorney-client relationship is created in responding to this question, and advice provided is based solely on very limited facts presented, and therefore may not be correct. You are advised that it is always best to contact a competent and experienced with the practice of law in the county in which you reside.

Carl H Starrett II

Carl H Starrett II

Posted

Your information is incorrect.

Alex R. Hess

Alex R. Hess

Posted

Michael - this is COMPLETELY WRONG. Please don't practice bankruptcy. Homestead is one of the most important pre-bankruptcy planning concepts.

Danielle M. Callahan

Danielle M. Callahan

Posted

I agree with Attorney Hess. The homestead protection is an exemption used in bankruptcy.

Michael J. Szklasz

Michael J. Szklasz

Posted

If you read my response, I stated that they "WERE entitled to the exemption allowed by (specifically) the Bankruptcy code.

Michael J. Szklasz

Michael J. Szklasz

Posted

Perhaps a reading of MA Homestead is in order: "...You will be required to repay a percentage of that debt at least equal to that which the unsecured creditors would receive were a homeowner required to proceed under Chapter 7 liquidation regulations. By increasing the amount of the home’s exemption, the homestead declaration decreases the proceeds which would become available for repaying unsecured creditors through the Chapter 7 alternative. This may decrease the percentage of the unsecured debt the homeowner would be required to repay through a Chapter 13"

Carl H Starrett II

Carl H Starrett II

Posted

You also stated that "Your Homestead exemption would not count in bankruptcy. " That information is wrong as pointed out to you 2 other Massachusetts attorneys. The homestead exemption that protects homeowners in your state from judgment creditors also protects debtors in bankruptcy. because debtors in your state can choose between the state or federal exemptions. As for your quote from the MA homestead statute, it does not support your position.. Contrary to your initial response, Massachusetts debtors can possibly claim a homestead exemption of up to $500,000 if they consult a qualified attorney and take the proper steps.

Danielle M. Callahan

Danielle M. Callahan

Posted

Thank you Attorney Starrett. With all due respect Attorney Szklasz, the over all message of your post is wrong. Stating that a homestead exemption would not count in bankruptcy and other points in your response are just flat out incorrect.

Posted

Your exemption is based upon whether you have recorded a Declaration of Homestead on your home at your local registry of deeds, lived in your property for the requisite residency requirement, and consider it to be your primary residence. You say that "[a]ccording to the courts, my exemption is $300,000" but in actuality it has nothing to do with a court determination. If you have recorded a homestead on your property, if you file a bankruptcy and use the Massachusetts state exemptions, you will be entitled to up to $500,000.00 of equity in your property for purposes of exemption. For example, if you owe $250,000.00 to a mortgage company (only - and have no other secured mortgage, liens, or other title issues) and your house is worth $750,000.00, provided you meet the eligibility requirements to file a bankruptcy you will be entitled to exempt (keep) the $500,000.00 of equity that would otherwise be up for grabs based on the fact that it is your primary residence. The Commonwealth created this homestead exemption to protect the homes of its citizens from creditors, and if you fit within that class and criteria, you can have a homestead exemption of $10,000, $300,000 or even $500,000.00. If you have any questions about this, feel free to call my office for a free consultation to discuss your options.

Posted

It is very important that you speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney before relying on any homestead exemption amounts. No one has pointed out to you that if you have not owned and resided in the property for at least 1215 days (approximately 3 years and 3 months) prior to filing bankruptcy your homestead is limited to approximately $146,000.00. Also, if you have been convicted of a felony or securities fraud within 10 years prior to filing bankruptcy your homestead may be limited. Without filing an actual declaration of homestead at the registry of deeds you automatically get the $125,000.00 exemption. If you filed one at the registry of deeds and even if you filed it years ago you are entitled to the full $500,000.00 exemption. Presently all owners may file a homestead. It is important that an experienced attorney examine your recorded homestead. I have seen older homestead, before multiple owners where allowed to file, that had both husband and wife's name and are not valid. Again, you really should consult someone experienced and knowledgeable in both bankruptcy and homesteads otherwise your home could be subject to being sold to pay your debts.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer