A homestead is a possessory estate. It is this possessory estate which is protected by the provisions of G.L.c. 188. So long as the declarant (and his or her family) possess the property, after having declared an estate of homestead, they cannot be disturbed or required to vacate the premises, or at least the value of so much of the premises as is commensurate with the amount afforded by the statute. An attachment is against the fee. In the ordinary case, an enforcement of such a lien would result in a judicial sale on execution which would carry with it the right of possession. However, the enforcement of such a lien while the declarant is in possession would not result in the forced vacation of the property. But the statute does not permit a debtor who has declared a homestead to sell the property (which, under the statute, terminates the homestead) as though the attachment did not exist. In such a case protection of the possession of the subject property is no longer the issue. In fact, in this instance, possession itself will be terminated.