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Guide File an informal probate for an estate

Informal probate is an administrative probate process that can be faster 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 about the probate proceeding to the people entitled to notice by delivering them a written notice at least 7 days before filing an informal petition. 

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 they accept 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 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 too.

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 too.

5. Post a publication notice

Once the informal petition is accepted by the court, you should post a publication notice in one of the newspapers designated by the register within 30 days. 

Additional Resources for 5. Post a publication notice

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