File a late and limited formal probate for an estate

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

Probate and Family Court

The Details

What you need

You may need to petition for late and limited formal probate for several reasons, including if: 

  • The decedent died on or after March 31, 2012.
  • No original proceeding relative to the estate has occurred within the 3 year period after death.
  • A formal testacy or appointment proceeding is necessary for the limited purpose of confirming title in the successors to estate assets.

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

If the decedent died with a will, you should file:

  • Petition for Late and Limited Formal Testacy and/or Appointment (MPC 161)
  • Surviving Spouse, Children, Heirs at Law (MPC 162)
  • Devisees (MPC 163)
  • The original will if it's available, or if not, a statement of will contents 
  • A certified copy of the death certificate if it's available, or if not, an affidavit 
  • Citation-Return of Service (MPC 560), which will be issued to you by the court
  • Decree and Order on Petition for Late and Limited Formal Testacy and/or Appointment (MPC 757)

You may also need to file:

  • Bond (MPC 801) if you want to appoint a personal representative
  • Military Affidavit (MPC 470) if all interested parties don't agree to the petition
  • Assent and Waiver of Notice/Renunciation/Nomination/Waiver of Sureties (MPC 455)
  • Affidavit as to cause of death (MPC 475), execution (MPC 480), domicile (MPC 485) or no conflict of a conservator 
  • Proof of guardianship/conservatorship
  • Uniform Counsel Certification Form (CCF 4/07) 

If the decedent died without a will, you should file:

  • Petition for Late and Limited Formal Testacy and/or Appointment (MPC 161)
  • Surviving Spouse, Children, Heirs at Law (MPC 162)
  • A certified copy of the death certificate if it's available, or if not, an affidavit 
  • Citation-Return of Service (MPC 560), which will be issued to you by the court
  • Decree and Order on Petition for Late and Limited Formal Testacy and/or Appointment (MPC 757)

You may also need to file:

  • Bond (MPC 801) if you want to appoint a personal representative
  • Military Affidavit (MPC 470) if all interested parties don't agree to the petition
  • Assent and Waiver of Notice/Renunciation/Nomination/Waiver of Sureties (MPC 455)
  • Affidavit as to cause of death (MPC 475), domicile (MPC 485) or no conflict of a conservator 
  • Proof of guardianship/conservatorship
  • Uniform Counsel Certification Form (CCF 4/07) 

You'll also need to file the following fees. You'll file one of two petition filing fees depending on whether or not the petition is for a public administrator. 

Fees

Name Fee Unit
Formal late and limited probate petition filing fee $375 each
Formal late and limited probate petition by a public administrator filing fee $100 each
Formal late and limited probate surcharge fee $15 each
Formal late and limited probate citation fee $15 each

How to file

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

  • If the decedent lived in Massachusetts, you should file in the county where they lived at the time of death.
  • If the decedent didn't live in Massachusetts, you should file in any county where the decedent had property at the time of death.  You may need to file additional forms in the state where the decedent lived as well.

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