Statute: Meaning of the Word "Debt"
There is no Massachusetts case on point, but the federal court has held that the word "debt" as used in the homestead statute means a debt that has been reduced to a judgment. See Judge Kenner's decision in In re Miller, 113 B.R. 98 (Bkrtcy.D.Mass.1990). Mere potential tortious liability is not a "debt" under In re Miller and the fact that a tort has occurred would appear not to prevent the effective declaration of a homestead provided the declaration is made before the liability is reduced to a judgment.