Lowell Deeds

The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell

October 8, 2008

Updates from Land Court

by @ 3:35 pm. Filed under Registry Ops

I was on the road yesterday, so we’re doubling up our blog postings for today.

Land Court Chief Justice Karyn Scheier and Chief Title Examiner Edmund Williams recently met with the Massachusetts Registers of Deeds Association to provide a preview of several policy memos that will be forthcoming from the court and a review of some existing policies. This entry will review what was said about homesteads. Two years ago the Land Court announced that multiple owners of property would be permitted to file separate declarations of homestead with two exceptions: married couples and property held in trust. A married couple who held property as tenants by the entirety are only allowed to file a single homestead with a minor caveat. If one spouse has already filed a declaration of homestead and the non-declaring spouse then turns 62, that spouse may file an Elderly and Disabled Homestead in addition to the original one. If the sequence of recording changed, however, so would the result. In other words, if the first spouse to record a declaration of homestead records the Elderly and Disabled version, than the “non-elderly” spouse would not then be permitted to file a regular homestead. The second homestead situation discussed involved property held in trust. Land Court still adheres to the rule that trust property may not be the subject of a declaration of homestead. A possible way around this rule would be for an individual owner who was about to convey property into the trust could reserve a homestead estate to himself in the deed which conveyed the property into the trust. There was a theory that a person living in property that was held in trust could file a Declaration of Homestead on his right of occupancy of the property (as opposed to any ownership interest in the real estate), but this theory has fallen out of favor and this method of recording a homestead is no longer allowed. Please check back tomorrow for more information from Land Court.

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