Part I: What is it?

In preparing for a closing, buyer’s attorneys are required[1] to ask their clients whether they would like to file a Declaration of Homestead on their property; however clients generally do not understand the purpose or value of such a filing beyond that it will protect their property from certain creditors. The Declaration of Homestead is an important document which J. Redmond Law draft the Declaration of Homestead complimentary for all their buyer clients.

This blog is a two-part post that will provide you with helpful information including what a Declaration of Homestead is, what it protects against and who it protects.

What is an Estate of Homestead?

A Declaration of Homestead protects principal residences from certain creditor claims for repayment of unsecured debts (i.e., the attachment, seizure, execution on judgment, levy, or sale to settle debts or judgments).[2] It should be noted that an Estate of Homestead only protects principal residences- the primary dwelling where an owner resides or intends to reside.

What is an Unsecured Debt?

Unsecured debts are debts which are not secured by collateral such as credit card debts, student loan, and medical bills. Most debts are unsecured. If an individual does not pay an unsecured debt, the court may permit the entity to which the debt is owed to attach certain real and personal property, such as your home, to recoup payment for the outstanding monies.[3]

Massachusetts Homestead Law Automatically Provides $125,000 of Protection to Principal Residences

Massachusetts General Laws, Ch. 188, §1-10 provide automatic $125,000 of protection on principal residences located in Massachusetts.[4] Generally, the amount of protection automatically offered by the state does not protect the entire value of a residence. Thus, it is suggested that parties’ file for additional homestead protection by filing a Declaration of Homestead.


Part II coming next week will discuss how you can take full advantage of the Declaration of Homestead to protect your home. If you have further questions contact us anytime at 617-249-4358 or through the contact us page of the website.

[1] M.G.L. c. 188 § 14 (West).

[2] M.G.L. c. 188, § 3(b); See  ClearOne Communications, Inc. v. Chiang, 717 F. Supp. 2d 142, 145 (D. Mass. 2010).

[3] Unif. Commercial Code § 9-203 (West).

[4] M.G.L. c. 188, § 4 (West).