Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Questions about new homestead

Early in my law school career, a professor declared "law school is just a course in advanced reading." The same might be said about the new homestead law. Many questions have arisen. Upon reflection, most of them are answered by the statute if one reads it closely enough. But that takes some time and reflection. In the meantime, here's a sampling of the questions that have been posed so far today, the first day of the new statute:

When spouses come in together and one is over 62 and the other is not, should they execute a single form or file separately? What should they do when the younger spouse reaches age 62?

A spouse comes in alone, but the deed that establishes title to the property shows that it is owned by “husband and wife as tenants by the entirety,” should a homestead signed only by the spouse who is present be recorded or should it be rejected pending second spouse’s signature?

One spouse already has an elderly homestead on record. The other spouse has just reached age 62 and comes in to file a new homestead. May the younger spouse file alone or do both have to file the new form

Are there any additional requirements for Registered Land? Guidance from the Land Court is expected imminently although we do understand that a Registered Land Declaration of Homestead that’s placed on a Nominee Trust must be accompanied by the Trustee’s Certificate.

If co-owners are declaring a homestead using a single form that both have signed but only one of their signatures is acknowledged, may the homestead be recorded? Section 5(a) says “each owner to be benefited by the homestead” must “sign and acknowledge” but a deed or mortgage by co-owners that’s signed by both that has only one signature acknowledged is recordable.

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