In Massachusetts, an estate of Homestead is an interest in real property designed to protect the possession and enjoyment of the owner, or the owner's surviving spouse, against the claims of creditors by protecting the property from execution and forced sale, so long as such person occupies or intends to occupy the property as his or her principal place of residence. M.G.L. Chapter 188, Section 1-10.
As of March 16, 2011, legislative changes made to the Homestead Act will take effect. An estate of homestead is a type of protection for a person's principal residence. There is an automatic homestead protection of one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars ($125,000) with respect to a home that does not declare a homestead exemption with the Registry of Deeds. This automatic protection may be sufficient to protect a deposit made upon the estate; however, it is not likely to be sufficient coverage to protect the full value of your home. In order for homeowners in Massachusetts to protect the value of their property up to five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) per residence, per family, you must file a new document called a "Declaration of Homestead".