Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to immediately provide for further homestead protection for elderly and disabled persons, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. The second paragraph of section 1 of chapter 188 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 1986 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the second sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:- For the purposes of this chapter, the word "family" shall include either a parent and child or children, a husband and wife and their children, if any, or a sole owner.
SECTION 2. Said chapter 188 is hereby further amended by striking out section 1A, as amended by section 38 of chapter 199 of the acts of 1988, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 1A. The real property of a person or persons sixty-five years of age or older, regardless of marital status, or of a disabled person or persons, as herein defined, shall be protected against attachment, seizure or execution of judgment to the extent of two hundred thousand dollars; provided, however, that such person or persons have filed an elderly or disabled person's declaration of homestead protection as provided in section two; and provided, further, that such person occupies or intends to occupy such property as his principal residence. A disabled person's declaration of homestead protection shall be accompanied by either of the documents referred to in the second paragraph of this section.
For the purposes of this section, a disabled person is defined as an individual who has any medically determinable permanent physical or mental impairment which would meet the disability requirements for supplemental security income under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. 1382c(a)(3)(A) and (C), which are in effect at the time of filing. An original or certified copy of a disability award letter issued to the person by the United States Social Security Administration; or a letter signed by a licensed physician registered with the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine certifying that the person meets the disability requirements stated in 42 U.S.C. 1382c(a)(3)(A) and (C), which are in effect at the time of filing, shall be recorded with a disabled person's declaration of homestead protection.
Each individual having an ownership interest in real property which serves as that individual's principal residence and who qualifies under the provisions of this section shall, upon filing of an elderly or disabled person's declaration of homestead protection, be eligible for protection of such ownership interest up to a maximum amount of two hundred thousand dollars per individual, regardless of whether such declaration is filed individually or jointly with another.
The following shall be exempt from the provisions of this section: federal, state and local taxes, assessments, claims and liens; first and second mortgages held by financial institutions or others; any and all debts, encumbrances or contracts existing prior to the filing of the declaration; an execution issued from the probate court to enforce its judgment that a spouse pay a certain amount weekly or otherwise for the support of a spouse or minor children; where buildings on land not owned by the owner of a homestead estate are attached, levied upon or sold for the ground rent of the lot whereon they stand.
The elderly or disabled person's estate of homestead shall be terminated upon the sale or transfer of the real property during the declarant's lifetime or upon the sale or transfer of the declarant's interest in the property during the declarant's lifetime or upon the death of the surviving declarant. An elderly or disabled person's estate of homestead created by this section shall be terminated during the lifetime of the declarant by deed conveying the property in which such an estate of homestead exists signed by the declarant; or by a release of the elderly or disabled person's estate of homestead, duly signed, sealed and acknowledged by the declarant, and recorded in the registry of deeds for the county or district in which such real estate is located; or pursuant to section two.
SECTION 3. Any person having filed a declaration of homestead under the provisions of section one A of chapter one hundred and eighty-eight of the General Laws, prior to the effective date of this act, shall be deemed to have filed hereunder.