Effective on March 16, 2011, new laws have replaced the current provisions of the Massachusetts Homestead Act, G.L. c. 188. Now in Massachusetts, by recording a Homestead Exemption at the Registry of Deeds, you can protect up to $500,000 of equity in your home in the event a judgment is entered against you by a court of law. There are some exceptions to this protection. The recent change in legislation has created an automatic exemption of $125,000 to benefit all home owners and the owners’ family members, without having to file a declaration of homestead at all. Both types of homestead exemption also now apply to home-owners whose homes are owned by trusts.
Lastly, if you are 62 years of age or older, or you are disabled (and any age), regardless or marital status, your primary residence can be protected against the events listed above to the extent of $125,000 or $500,000 each. In other words, if two people aged 62 or over are living together—regardless if they are married—and have properly filed a homestead exemption for their residence, they are each protected against attachment, seizure or execution of judgment, levy and sale for payment of debts and legacies, to the extent of $500,000 each. This is true regardless of the form of ownership.