As the Suzanne & Co. team works with buyers to prepare for the closing on their new homes, one of the common questions that comes up is "What is a declaration of homestead? And do I really need it?"
For legal questions like these, we turn to our trusted colleague John Spino of Spino Law Offices, P.C. John, take it away!
A Homestead is available to homeowners in Massachusetts and can potentially protect the family home from creditors' claims of up to $500,000 by shielding the property from execution, attachment and forced sale so long as the owner occupies or intends to occupy the home as his/her principal place of residence. This simple document, filed with the Registry of Deeds, can offer you an extra sense of peace of mind.
Please note however, the Homestead does NOT provide protection from debts as a result of federal, state and local taxes; first and second mortgages; any debts in existence prior to the filing; an execution issued from the Probate Court to enforce its judgment that a spouse pay a certain amount weekly or otherwise for the support of a spouse or minor children, and; for ground rent due to land not owned by the owner of Homestead estate.
There is an automatic Declaration of Homestead that does not require a formal filing that affords the owner (as long as he/she occupies or intends to occupy the home as his/her principal place of residence) a maximum of $125,000 of protection.
To create a Homestead for the maximum protection of $500,000, the homeowner(s) is required to complete a Declaration of Homestead filing which can be done at the initial real estate closing, or any time thereafter. Be sure to ask your attorney about it or give us a call to learn more.
Spino Law Offices, P.C. is a Massachusetts law firm with offices in Wakefield and Newton and specializes in real estate law, estate planning, probate law and business law. John Spino can be reached at 781-213-3060 or firstname.lastname@example.org.