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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 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).

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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.