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Record a Declaration of Homestead

Produced by Attorney Mariah Jennings-Rampsi for MassLegalHelp
Created October 2016

If you own your home, fill out a document called a "Declaration of Homestead". This document protects the equity in your home. Equity is the amount of money you would get if you sold your home, after you pay off any loans and liens on it. Your home can be a regular house, a condominium or a mobile home. You just have to live in the home and own it.

There is an automatic Homestead in Massachusetts of $125,000. You can protect more equity by filing a homestead with the Registry of Deeds. You must sign the Declaration of Homestead in front of a notary public. Most banks and Registries of Deeds have a notary you can use. If you are married, both spouses must sign the form in front of a notary. It doesn’t matter if only one spouse’s name is on the property. You should both sign the form.

After you sign the form in front of a notary, take it to the Clerk and Recorder’s Office in your county.  Ask them to record it.  Get a copy of the Declaration after it has been recorded. The clerk will mail the original to you to keep for your records.

See Homestead Protection.

Get the Declaration of Homestead from the Secretary of State's website.

See Filing your homestead with the Registry of Deeds.

Filing without a lawyer

  • Bankruptcy is complicated. Filing without a lawyer is risky.
  • You can lose property and money. You can go to jail if you do not tell the truth.

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