The Massachusetts Homestead Exemption: How It Works and How It Can Work for You

Protecting Your Home

As the saying goes, your home is your castle. It is also the largest asset that many will ever own. In recognition of this, the Massachusetts Homestead Protection Law, passed in 2011, updated existing parts of the Massachusetts General Code to expand and clarify the protections that homeowners in the Commonwealth have to preserve their home’s equity form certain creditors.

What Is the Homestead Exemption?

The Homestead Exemption, as detailed in the 2011 act, is intended to preserve the equity of a homeowner’s primary residence against seizure, execution on a judgement, or sale to cover debts, among other adverse financial penalties.

Whether a traditional house (called “real property” in the language of the law) or a mobile home, all homeowners’ primary residences receive up to $125, 000 in equity protection automatically, without having to register.

By recoding a homestead declaration with the registry of deeds where your residence is located, your home can receive protection up to $500, 000 against certain creditors. People over 62 or living with disabilities receive certain extended benefits under the law after declaring a homestead.

In case of the registered party’s death, the Massachusetts Homestead Protection Law extends benefits from the registered homeowner to surviving spouse and other family members living in the home.

What Is Not Covered by the Massachusetts Homestead Exemption?

You (and your spouse) can only declare one residence as your family homestead. Vacation homes cannot be registered as homesteads.

Additionally, the Homestead Exemption will not protect you from:

  • mortgage payments
  • forced sale for federal, state, or local financial obligations (taxes, liens, etc.)
  • a lien on the home that predates the homestead declaration
  • among others

Trusted Real Estate Lawyers

If you are curious about the Homestead Exemption, or want to know how you can maximize the protection it offers, our experienced real estate attorneys can assess your particular situation. Call our office for a case evaluation.


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