Documents to file a Declaration of Homestead are found online at the website of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. After downloading and filling out the form, individuals must have it notarized by a notary public. The document is then mailed or delivered to the Registry of Deeds.
Filing a Declaration of Homestead form in Massachusetts is required to receive $500,000 in protection designated for section 2 and 3 homesteads, according to the Massachusetts Homestead Act. Along with the document, payment of a filing fee is required. No action is necessary to receive $125,000 in automatic protection. Once the homestead document is on file with the county or district deed registry, the house is protected from certain creditors and lawsuits. Homeowners also receive insurance claim protection when a home is damage by fire or other causes. Legal protection is not extended to mortgage debt. Therefore, filing a homestead deed offers no protection from bank foreclosure.
Residents of Massachusetts must reside in the home in order to receive benefits of the Massachusetts Homestead Act. Under the act, when a house is sold proceeds from the sale are protected for a year, or until the seller purchases a new home. In addition, the closing attorney for the home sale must notify home buyers about homestead protection.