In Massachusetts, there are two different ways to probate an estate whether the decedent died with a will or without a will:

1.  Informal Probate

Informal probate is an administrative proceeding and is processed by a MUPC Magistrate instead of a judge.  Hearings are not required or allowed by the court.   Informal probate can be an expedited process if all of the requirements of the law are met.  A Magistrate can issue an informal order as early as 7 days after the decedent’s death.

Informal probate is not available if:

  • The original will cannot be found
  • There is no official death certificate
  • The location or identity of any heir or devisee is unknown
  • The person to be appointed personal representative does not have priority for appointment
  • There is a spouse, heir or devisee that is incapacitated or a minor and not represented by a conservator, or a guardian who is not the petitioner
  • Supervised administration is necessary
  • A judge must sign an order or final decree for any reason

Informal Probate Forms-Decedent Died With A Will (Testate)

FormsRequired, May Need or May Have
Petition for Informal Probate of Will/Appointment of PR (MPC 150) pdf format of Petition Informal Probate (MPC 150) file size 1MB Required
Certified Copy of Death CertificateRequired
Notice of Informal Probate & Return of Service (MPC 550) pdf format of Notice Informal Probate & Return of Service (MPC 550) Required
Order of Informal Probate of Will and/or Appointment of PR (MPC 750) pdf format of Order for Informal Probate/Appt of PR (MPC 750) Required
Original WillRequired
Authenticated Copy of Will and AppointmentRequired
(For ancillary probate proceedings only)
Military Affidavit (MPC 470) pdf format of Military Affidavit (MPC 470) Required
(unless the petition is assented to by all interested persons)
Bond (MPC 801) pdf format of Bond (MPC 801) file size 1MB Required
(only if seeking the appointment of a PR)
Assent and Waiver of Notice/Renunciation/Nomination/Waiver of Sureties (MPC 455) pdf format of Assent Combo Form (MPC 455) file size 1MB ;   Instructions (MPC 941) pdf format of Instructions for Completing MPC 455 (MPC 941) May Need
Affidavit - as to domicile (MPC 485) pdf format of Affidavit of Domicile (MPC 485) or cause of death (MPC 475) pdf format of Cause of Death Affidavit (MPC 475) May Need
Proof of Guardianship/ConservatorshipMay Need

Informal Probate Forms-Decedent Died Without A Will (Intestate)

FormRequired, May Need or May Have
Petition for Informal Probate of Will/Appointment of PR (MPC 150) pdf format of Petition Informal Probate (MPC 150) file size 1MB Required
Certified Copy of Death CertificateRequired
Notice of Informal Probate & Return of Service (MPC 550) pdf format of Notice Informal Probate & Return of Service (MPC 550) Required
Order of Informal Probate of Will and/or Appointment of PR (MPC 750) pdf format of Order for Informal Probate/Appt of PR (MPC 750) Required
Military Affidavit (MPC 470) pdf format of Military Affidavit (MPC 470) Required
(unless the petition is assented to by all interested persons)
Bond (MPC 801) pdf format of Bond (MPC 801) file size 1MB Required
Assent and Waiver of Notice/Renunciation/Nomination/Waiver of Sureties (MPC 455) pdf format of Assent Combo Form (MPC 455) file size 1MB ; Instructions (MPC 941) pdf format of Instructions for Completing MPC 455 (MPC 941) May Need
Affidavit - as to domicile (MPC 485) pdf format of Affidavit of Domicile (MPC 485) or cause of death (MPC 475) pdf format of Cause of Death Affidavit (MPC 475) May Need
Proof of Guardianship/ConservatorshipMay Need

2.  Formal Probate

Formal probate matters are typically heard by a judge and may involve one or more hearings before the court.  Formal probate may be required for several reasons, including:

  • To object to an informal probate
  • The will is a copy or has handwritten words added (interlineations) or crossed out (deletions)
  • The  terms of the will are unclear
  • Supervised administration is necessary
  • A Special Personal Representative needs to be appointed
  • Interests of incapacitated or minor heirs or devisees need representation
  • The personal representative does not have priority for appointment
  • A creditor or public administrator is the petitioner
  • Informal probate is unavailable
  • A judge must sign an order or final decree for any reason

Formal Probate Forms-Decedent Died With A Will (Testate)

FormRequired, May Need or May Have
Petition for Formal Probate of Will/Adjudication of Intestacy/Appointment of PR (MPC 160) pdf format of Petition Formal Probate (MPC 160) file size 1MB Required
Certified Copy of Death Certificate, if available or affidavit (see §§ 3-402(b) and 1-107)Required
Decree and Order on Petition for Formal Adjudication (MPC 755) pdf format of Decree and Order on Formal Petition (MPC 755) Required
Original Will, if available or if not, a statement of will contentsRequired
Authenticated Copy of Will and AppointmentRequired
(for ancillary probate proceedings only)
Military Affidavit (MPC 470) pdf format of Military Affidavit (MPC 470) Required
(unless the petition is assented to by all interested persons)
Bond (MPC 801) pdf format of Bond (MPC 801) file size 1MB Required
(only is seeking the appointment of a PR)
Citation-Return of Service (MPC 560)Required
Assent and Waiver of Notice/Renunciation/Nomination/Waiver of Sureties (MPC 455) pdf format of Assent Combo Form (MPC 455) file size 1MB ; Instructions (MPC 941) pdf format of Instructions for Completing MPC 455 (MPC 941) May Need
Affidavit - as to domicile (MPC 485) pdf format of Affidavit of Domicile (MPC 485) or cause of death (MPC 475) pdf format of Cause of Death Affidavit (MPC 475) or execution (MPC 480) pdf format of Affidavit of Witness to Will (MPC 480) May Need
Proof of Guardianship/ConservatorshipMay Need
Uniform Counsel Certification Form (CCF 4/07) pdf format of Uniform Counsel Certification (CCF) May Have

Formal Probate Forms-Decedent Died Without A Will (Intestate)

FormRequired, May Need or May Have
Petition for Formal Probate of Will/Adjudication of Intestacy/Appointment of PR (MPC 160) pdf format of Petition Formal Probate (MPC 160) file size 1MB Required
Certified Copy of Death Certificate, if available or affidavit (see §§ 3-402(b) and 1-107)Required
Decree and Order on Petition for Formal Adjudication (MPC 755) pdf format of Decree and Order on Formal Petition (MPC 755) Required
Military Affidavit (MPC 470) pdf format of Military Affidavit (MPC 470) Required
(unless assented to by all interested persons)
Bond (MPC 801) pdf format of Bond (MPC 801) file size 1MB Required
(only if seeking the appointment of a PR)
Citation-Return of Service (MPC 560)Required
Assent and Waiver of Notice/Renunciation/Nomination/Waiver of Sureties (MPC 455) pdf format of Assent Combo Form (MPC 455) file size 1MB May Need
Affidavit (as to domicile/cause of death)May Need
Proof of Guardianship/ConservatorshipMay Need
Uniform Counsel Certification Form (CCF 4/07)May Have