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Family Law - Homestead Protection

Massachusetts changed its homestead protection statute, effective March 16, 2011. Prior to that date, homeowners had to file a Declaration of Homestead in the Registry of Deeds to obtain protection.

The new statute created an automatic protection for the owner of record and his/her family and applies to tenants in common and joint tenants as well. The total protection is one hundred twenty-five thousand dollars ($125,000.00).

For the first time, homestead protection includes residences held in trust. Beneficiaries receive the automatic one hundred twenty-five thousand dollars ($125,000.00) protection in proportion to their share of the beneficial interest.

Those wishing to declare a homestead, including beneficiaries of a trust, get greater total protection; five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000.00). As with the automatic homestead, each owner's coverage is his/her proportional interest in the residence.

The elderly/disabled homestead is also increased to five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000.00), and each such owner declaring such a homestead now gets that full coverage. To get that individual coverage, each qualifying spouse should file a declaration.

Your Time May Be Limited!

If you are a defendant in a civil suit, you have a specific period of time in which to file an answer. Failure to do so can result in a default judgment being issued against you. Failure to timely submit responses to discovery requests can also negatively affect your case. Those named as defendants in criminal cases via clerk magistrate or “show cause” hearings must appear, or the complaint will issue against them. Those seeking to appeal a negative action, such as a firearms license denial or revocation, denial of a permit, or losing a case at trial, all have specific time periods in which to act. Do not lose your rights by inertia or delay.

Act Now!

The law is an area in which inertia can have very negative consequences: The loss of rights and remedies. It is unlikely that your problem will just “go away” - act now to protect yourself and preserve your options.