MASSSACHUSETTS HOMESTEAD LAW: A PATHFINDER MASSACHUSETTS STATUTES: St. 2004, c.218 An Act Relative to the Estate of Homestead (amending Chapter 188 to increase protection to $500,000) Chapter 188 sec. 1 Massachusetts Homestead Act: Right to Acquire; Exemptions; Definitions Chapter 188 sec. 1A Elderly or Disabled Persons; Protection from Attachment or Seizure Chapter 188 sec. 2 Designation in Conveyance; Mobile Homes Chapter 188 sec. 3-10 General Provisions Chapter 235 sec. 34 (c1.14) Property Exempt from Execution FORMS: Several Registries of Deeds have homestead forms and descriptions of the homestead act available online. Links to Registries of Deeds are at http://www.sec.state.ma.us/rod/rodlst/lstidx.htm. Forms are available at http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/formsf-l.html#homestead SELECTIVE CASE LAW: In Re Cunningham, __ BR __ , 2005 Bankr. LEXIS 2419, 2005 WL 3348861 (2005). Where land subject to debtor’s homestead exemption was sold, the exemption applied to the sale proceeds. In Re Desroches, 314 B.R. 19, (2004). Homestead protection was denied where the mortgage was filed after an earlier homestead declaration and mortgage did not specifically reserve the debtor's homestead rights. In Re Garren, 338 F. 3d 1 (2003). Debtor was not allowed to “stack” two homestead exemptions in order to avoid judicial lien on his property. In Re Hildebrandt, 313 B.R. 535 (2004). Debtor's failure to reserve homestead exemption in conveyance of property from debtor and a tenant in common to the debtor terminated the Homestead. In Re Kelly, __ BR __, 2005 Bankr. LEXIS 2365, 2005 WL 3293309 (2005). Debtor may not claim a homestead exemption, pursuant to MGL. Ch. 188, sec. 1, in a manufactured mobile home. Although MGL Ch. 188, sec. 1A provides for such protection, section 1 does not. “The most persuasive argument that subsection 1 does not include a manufactured home, however, is the fact that subsection 1A does provide for such a homestead.” In Re Whalen-Griffin, 206 B.R. 277 (Bkrtcy. D. Mass., 1997). Court said that federal bankruptcy statute preempted Massachusetts homestead exemptions. Effect is to protect homesteads from liens, even where debts are incurred prior to homestead recording. In Re Weinstein, 217 B.R. 5 (Bkrtcy. D. Mass., 1998). Agrees with Whalen-Griffin and goes on to include both unsecured and secured pre-homestead debt under bankruptcy protection. SECONDARY SOURCES: Elias, Stephen et al., How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Nolo Press, 2004, Appendix 1. state-by- state listing of State and Federal bankruptcy exemptions, including homestead. Estate Planning for the Aging or Incapacitated Client in Massachusetts. MCLE, loose-leaf, vol. 2, Chapter 18 (Includes forms). Massachusetts Practice, vol. 5 (Methods of Practice) West Group, 2000 with supplement, sec. 5:4-5:7 (Includes forms); vol. 28 (Real Estate Law), West Group, 1995 with supplement, sec. 6.8-6.16 and forms at secs. 127-128. Homestead Pathfinder, Page 2 Massachusetts Lawyers Diary and Manual, Lawyers Diary, 2004, p. 33-88, 190. Contains a complete list of all registry offices and districts. Filing fees are also listed. ARTICLES: Scally, Jason M. "Debtors Home Unprotected Despite Homestead Declaration" 33 Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly 109 (September 13, 2004). "Homestead Exemption - Debts Contracted Before And After Declaration" 25 Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly 2671 (August 18, 1997). Oney, Walter, “Homestead in Massachusetts: Termination with Extreme Prejudice,” 33 Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly 907 (December 20, 2004) “Homestead Law Creating Uncertainty For Lawyers: File Declarations Again, Say Experts” 32 Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly 47 (Sept. 8, 2003) “The Massachusetts Homestead Act: Throw out the Bathwater,” 44 Boston Bar Journal 12 (May/June 2000). "Revisiting the Old Homestead: Update 2000," 29 Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly 307 (October 9, 2000). INTERNET RESOURCES / ORGANIZATIONS: See: Massachusetts Law About Homestead, http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/homes.html Compiled by the staff of the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries. Rev. 01/05/06. A more current version may be available at our web site http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us. Warning: This is only a guide to provide a starting point for research. It is not intended to be an exhaustive compilation on the topic.