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Can I keep my home in bankruptcy?

In many cases the answer is yes.

There is a Massachusetts Homestead Act which prevents creditors from having their homes sold to pay off unsecured debts. The law applies only if the homeowner lives in the home as his/her principal residence. The protection applies to unsecured creditor claims such as credit card debt or lawsuits. The home is not protected from claims secured by the home, such as a mortgage or lien on the property, or certain other types of debts.

The Homestead Act is found in Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 188, §1-10, as amended by An Act Relative to the Estate of Homestead that went into effect on March 16, 2011.

Under the amended Homestead Act, up to $125,000 of a homeowner’s equity is automatically protected by law. A homeowner can protect up to $500,000 in equity by filing a Declaration of Homestead with the Registry of Deeds.


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