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Massachusetts Law About Homestead

Massachusetts Laws

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.

MGL c.188 Homesteads as amended by St.2010, c.395. This new law provides radical changes to past homestead law:

Forms

Homestead Forms

Selected Case Law

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.

Homestead and Bankruptcy

Massachusetts Law

MGL c.235, s.34 (cl.14) Amended by St.2010, c.431. Bankruptcy exemption for estates of homestead.

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.

Other Web Sources

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.

The Homestead Act, Mass. Secretary of State. Includes a questions and answers pamphlet on who may file, where to file, and an overview of the protections homestead offers and forms.

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.