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Guide File an informal probate for an estate

Informal probate is an administrative probate proceeding that can be a faster process if you meet all the requirements. Find out how to file an informal probate for an estate and what forms you'll need.

Table of Contents

1. Begin the process & give notice

A magistrate can issue an informal probate order as soon as 7 days after the decedent’s death.

Informal probate is an administrative probate proceeding and is processed by a Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (MUPC) Magistrate instead of a judge.

You'll need to give notice of the probate proceeding to the people entitled to notice by:

  1. A written notice at least 7 days before filing an informal petition with the court
  2. A publication notice within 30 days after an informal petition is allowed

Additional Resources for 1. Begin the process & give notice

2. Fill out the forms

There are different forms you'll need to file depending on whether or not the decedent (the person who died) died with a will.

Additional forms you may need to file

Key Actions for 2. Fill out the forms

Additional Resources for 2. Fill out the forms

3. Gather the fees

Contact the Probate & Family Court location you're filing at to find out what forms of payment are accepted for fees. 

Name Fee
Informal probate petition filing fee $375
Informal probate surcharge fee $15

 

4. File the forms and fees

There are 3 ways you can file an informal probate.

Online

You can eFile an informal probate for an estate online. For information on how to eFile, please see Learn about eFiling in the Trial Court.

By mail

You can mail the forms and fees to the correct Probate & Family Court.

  • If the decedent lived in Massachusetts — File in the county where they lived when they died.
  • If the decedent didn't live in Massachusetts — File in any county where the decedent had property when they died. You may need to file additional forms in the state where the decedent lived as well.

In person

You can submit the forms and fees in person at the correct Probate & Family Court.

  • If the decedent lived in Massachusetts — File in the county where they lived when they died.
  • If the decedent didn't live in Massachusetts — File in any county where the decedent had property when they died. You may need to file additional forms in the state where the decedent lived as well.

5. Check the status of your case

To find out how to check the status of your probate case, please see How to search court dockets.

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