Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell is again reminding Norfolk County homeowners about the importance of filing for Homestead protection.
Under Massachusetts law, recording a Homestead provides a homeowner with limited protection against the forced sale of their primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000.
“For most of us, our home is the most important financial asset we have,” noted Register O’Donnell. “If you own a home, and it is your primary residence, one way to protect it is to file a Homestead. The Homestead law also allows for the filing of an Elderly Homestead application, which defines an elder as a person who is 62 years of age or older. This protection can be increased if the elderly couple files jointly.”
O’Donnell further stated, “The Homestead law was updated by an act of the Massachusetts Legislature back in 2011. Current language in the law states a valid Homestead cannot be terminated when refinancing a mortgage. Other enhancements that took place in 2011 state that a Homestead can provide protections for a primary home even if it is kept in trust. The definition of a primary residence has been further expanded to include a manufactured or mobile home.”
While a Homestead provides important protections for homeowners, it is important to note there are certain debts that are exempted from protection under the Homestead Act. These include federal, state and local tax liens, as well as mortgages contracted for the purchase of a primary home and nursing home liens. Most other mortgages, debts, and encumbrances existing prior to the filing of the Declaration of Homestead, along with probate court executions for spousal and child support, are also not covered under the Homestead protection statute.
Homestead recordings can be filed at the Registry of Deeds for a state imposed fee of $36.00, ($35.00 for registered land/Land Court). To find out more about the Homestead law, or to get a free application, please go online to the Registry’s website at www.norfolkdeeds.org or contact the Registry’s Customer Service Center at 781-461-6101.
Register O’Donnell concluded, “A Homestead is an important consumer protection tool that provides limited protection against the forced sale of a homeowners primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000. While the debt is still owed, homeowners can have peace of mind knowing that with a Homestead filed at the Registry of Deeds, their primary residence cannot be forcibly sold to satisfy most debts.”
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The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is located at 649 High Street in Dedham. The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. All land record research information can be found on the Registry’s website www.norfolkdeeds.org. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.