Understanding the Vocab- Declaration of Homestead

At each purchase closing in which our office represents the buyers, we encourage our clients to execute a Declaration of Homestead.

At each purchase closing in which our office represents the buyers, we encourage our clients to execute a Declaration of Homestead.

Declaration of Homestead – A formal, written, recorded assertion by an owner that the dwelling in which he or she resides is exempt from forced sale. (http://www.fntic.com/escrowterms.aspx?letter=D)

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Homestead Act automatically protects a person’s primary residence from attachment, seizure, execution on judgment, levy or sale for the payment of debts up to $125,000.00.  By signing and recording a Declaration of Homestead, that amount is increased to $500,000.00.

Other benefits of a Declaration of Homestead include extending benefits to a non-owner spouse or a new spouse if the owner was unmarried at the time of purchase, extending benefits to beneficiaries of a trust-owner, and that the protection cannot be subordinated to an unsecured debt (ex: credit card balances and student loans).

This can only be recorded for a primary residence (where you live more than 50% of the time) and is not the same as home insurance.

For more details and frequently asked questions, please visit the Secretary of State’s website at https://www.sec.state.ma.us/rod/rodhom/Homestead_q_and_a.pdf

If you are unsure if a Declaration of Homestead was recorded for your primary residence, you can check online on your county’s Registry of Deeds website or contact our office and we would be happy to help!