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General Laws

[Text of section applicable as provided by 2010, 395, Sec. 3.]

Section 1. For the purposes of this chapter, the following words shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

“Automatic homestead exemption”, an exemption in the amount of $125,000 pursuant to section 4; provided, however, that: (1) with respect to a home owned as joint tenants or as tenants by the entirety, the automatic homestead exemption shall remain whole and unallocated between the owners, provided that the owners together shall not be entitled to an automatic homestead exemption in excess of $125,000; and (2) with respect to a home owned by multiple owners as tenants in common or as trust beneficiaries, the automatic homestead exemption shall be allocated among all owners in proportion to their respective ownership interests.

“Declared homestead exemption”, an exemption in the amount of $500,000 created by a written declaration, executed and recorded pursuant to section 5; provided, however, that: (1) with respect to a home owned by joint tenants or tenants by the entirety who are benefited by an estate of homestead declared pursuant to section 3, the declared homestead exemption shall remain whole and unallocated, provided that the owners together shall not be entitled to a declared homestead exemption in excess of $500,000; (2) if a home is owned by tenants in common or trust beneficiaries, the declared homestead exemption for each co-tenant and trust beneficiary who benefits by an estate of homestead declared pursuant to said section 3 shall be the product of: (i) $500,000; and (ii) the co-tenant’s or trust beneficiary’s percentage ownership interest; (3) except as provided in clause (4), each person who owns a home and who is benefited by an estate of homestead declared pursuant to section 2 shall be entitled to the declared homestead exemption without reduction, proration or allocation among other owners of the home; and (4) separate estates of homestead may be declared pursuant to sections 2 and 3 on the same home, and in such event: (i) if the home is owned by tenants in common or trust beneficiaries, the declared homestead exemption for each co-tenant and trust beneficiary who benefits by an estate of homestead declared pursuant to section 3 shall be calculated in the manner provided in clause (2), and the declared homestead exemption for each co-tenant and trust beneficiary who benefits by an estate of homestead declared pursuant to section 2 shall be calculated in the manner provided in clause (3); or (ii) if the home is owned by joint tenants or tenants by the entirety, the declared homestead exemption for the owners together shall be the sum of $500,000 multiplied by the number of declarations recorded pursuant to section 2, plus $250,000; provided, however, that the homestead exemption under this subclause shall remain whole and unallocated among the owners; and provided further, that no owner who declares a homestead, acting individually, shall be entitled to claim an exemption of more than $500,000; and (5) the calculation of the amount of homestead exemption available to an owner shall not sever a joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety.

“Disabled person”, an individual who has a medically-determinable, permanent physical or mental impairment that would meet the disability requirements for Supplemental Security Income under 42 U. S.C. 1382c(a)(3)(A) and 42 U.S.C. 1382c(a)(3)(C) as in effect at the time of recording.

“Elderly person”, an individual 62 years of age or older.

“Family” or “family members”, (1) married individuals, both of whom own a home, and any minor child; (2) a married individual who owns a home, a non-titled spouse of the married individual and any minor child; or (3) an unmarried individual who owns a home and any minor child.

“Home”, the aggregate of: (1) any of the following: (i) a single-family dwelling, including accessory structures appurtenant thereto and the land on which it is located; (ii) a 2 to 4-family dwelling, including accessory structures appurtenant thereto and the land on which it is located; (iii) a manufactured home as defined in section 32Q of chapter 140; (iv) a unit in a condominium, as those terms are defined in section 1 of chapter 183A, that is used for residential purposes; or (v) a residential cooperative housing unit established pursuant to chapters 156B, 157B, 180 or otherwise; (2) the sale proceeds as provided in clause (1) of subsection (a) of section 11; and (3) the proceeds of any policy of insurance insuring the home against fire or other casualty loss as provided in clause (2) of said subsection (a) of said section 11.

“Minor child”, a person aged 21 and under, who is the natural or adopted child of an owner or owner’s spouse entitled to the benefits of this chapter, notwithstanding any law to the contrary.

“Owner”, a natural person who is a sole owner, joint tenant, tenant by the entirety, tenant in common, life estate holder or holder of a beneficial interest in a trust.

“Principal residence”, the home where an owner, and the owner’s family if applicable, resides or intends to reside as the primary dwelling; provided, however, that no person shall hold concurrent rights in more than 1 principal residence.

“Record”, “recording” or “recorded”, the act of recording in the registry of deeds or the registry district of the land court for the county or district wherein the home lies, except that with respect to a manufactured home located on registered land, recording in the registry of deeds shall be sufficient.

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