offered by
related to

File a formal probate for an estate

Find out how to file a formal probate for an estate and what forms you'll need.

Probate and Family Court locations

The Details of File a formal probate for an estate

What you need for File a formal probate for an estate

Formal probate matters are typically heard by a judge and may involve one or more hearings before the court. A formal probate proceeding requires both written notice and publication notice before the allowance of the formal petition. There are different forms you'll need to file depending on whether or not the decedent (the person who has died) died with a will.

If the decedent died with a will

You’ll need to file:

You may also need to file:

If the decedent died without a will

You’ll need to file:

You may also need to file:

Some forms may not display properly in your browser. Please download the forms and open them using Acrobat reader.

Fees for File a formal probate for an estate

Name Fee Unit
Formal probate petition filing fee $375 each
Formal probate surcharge fee $15 each
Formal probate citation fee $15 each

How to file File a formal probate for an estate

Once you have the required forms, file them at the correct Probate and 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.

Next steps for File a formal probate for an estate

Serve the citation

After you file and pay for a formal petition, the Registry of Probate will issue formal notice to the petitioner (the person filing for probate). The formal notice is called a citation. You'll need to serve a copy of the citation on all interested persons and publish a copy in the newspaper listed in the Order of Notice.  

More info for File a formal probate for an estate

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

Downloads for File a formal probate for an estate

Contact for File a formal probate for an estate

Feedback