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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 5A: Lien upon real estate of certain recipients of veterans' benefits

Section 5A. In every case where the applicant for or a recipient of benefits under this chapter is a dependent mother or father, as defined in section one, with an interest in one or more parcels of real estate and the fair market value of such interest is more than fifteen hundred dollars, an instrument signed and acknowledged by the veterans' agent of the town granting such benefits and giving notice of a lien upon each such parcel for all benefits granted and to be granted under this chapter by such town to such mother or father, who shall be named therein, shall, not earlier than three days, Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays excluded, after a like instrument has been sent by certified mail to such mother or father, be recorded in the records of the county, or of the district, if such county is divided into districts, where each parcel lies, without the payment of any fee for such recording. Every such instrument shall contain a description sufficient to identify each parcel of real estate subject to the lien, and upon recording shall create a lien upon so much of such mother's or father's interest as has a fair market value in excess of fifteen hundred dollars, which lien shall be superior to any deed, mortgage, lien or other encumbrance thereafter recorded. Whenever such lien is satisfied or is ordered discharged as hereinafter provided, an instrument signed and acknowledged by such veterans' agent and reciting such fact shall be given; and upon the recording of such instrument, such lien shall be dissolved.

Such lien shall be enforceable in the superior court for the county where any parcel of the real estate lies by a petition in equity brought by the veterans' agent against all persons appearing of record to be interested in the real estate subject to such lien, whether as equity owners, mortgagees, lienors, attaching creditors or otherwise. Such petition shall allege the amount claimed under such lien and incorporate a certified copy of the recorded instrument creating such lien. At any time before final decree, the court, of its own motion or upon the suggestion of any party, may issue a precept to any other person appearing to have an interest, directing him to appear on or before a specified day or be forever barred from redeeming from such lien. Proceeds realized through any such enforcement shall be apportioned between the commonwealth and the town granting the benefits in proportion to the amount of their respective contributions thereto, but in no case for more than the amount contributed, without interest. No lien under this section shall be enforceable until after the death of both mother and father, and then only when written permission has been obtained from the commissioner, who, in his discretion, may, if undue hardship might be caused by enforcement, waive enforcement in whole or in part, and order a discharge to the extent waived. If the veterans' agent neglects or refuses promptly to refer the enforcement of a lien under this section to the commissioner for his approval, or to bring a petition within the period specified by the commissioner, the commissioner shall thereupon bring the petition in his own name; and in such event, all proceeds shall be retained by the commonwealth.

A veterans' agent, subject to the prior approval of the commissioner, may by an agreement in writing, consent to subordinate any such lien to a mortgage, if in the opinion of the commissioner such mortgage is required for necessary repairs to the real estate subject to such lien.

Such lien shall be dissolved and be unenforceable upon the expiration of twenty years from the date of the recording in the register of deeds of the county wherein said real estate lies.

Any conveyance of real estate by a mother or father within two years before an application for veterans' benefits, unless for fair market value, shall be deemed to be in avoidance of the provisions of this section and shall make such mother or father ineligible to receive veterans' benefits.

The provisions of this section shall not be applicable if the applicant for or the recipient of veterans' benefits is the dependent mother or father of a person who while in the armed forces of the United States during wartime was killed in action or died from service connected disability incurred in wartime service.