Mass. General Laws c.190B § 3-108

Probate, testacy and appointment proceedings; ultimate time limit

This is an unofficial version of a Massachusetts General Law.

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Section 3-108

No informal probate or appointment proceeding or formal testacy or appointment proceeding, other than a proceeding to probate a will previously probated at the testator's domicile and appointment proceedings relating to an estate in which there has been a prior appointment, may be commenced more than 3 years after the decedent's death, except that: (1) if a previous proceeding was dismissed because of doubt relative to the fact of the decedent's death, then appropriate probate, appointment or testacy proceedings may be maintained at any time thereafter upon a finding that the decedent's death occurred prior to the initiation of the previous proceeding and the applicant or petitioner has not unduly delayed initiating the subsequent proceeding; (2) appropriate probate, appointment or testacy proceedings may be maintained relative to the estate of an absent, disappeared or missing person at any time within 3 years after the death of the person may be established; (3) a proceeding to contest an informally probated will and to secure appointment of the person with legal priority for appointment in the event the contest is successful, may be commenced within the later of 12 months from the informal probate or 3 years from the decedent's death; (4) an informal appointment or a formal testacy or appointment proceeding may be commenced thereafter if no proceedings relative to the succession or estate administration has occurred within the 3 year period after the decedent's death, but the personal representative shall have no right to possess estate assets as provided in section 3–709 beyond that necessary to confirm title thereto in the successors to the estate and claims other than expenses of administration shall not be presented against the estate; and (5) a formal testacy proceeding may be commenced at any time after 3 years from the decedent's death for the purpose of establishing an instrument to direct or control the ownership of property passing or distributable after the decedent's death from one other than the decedent when the property is to be appointed by the terms of the decedent's will or is to pass or be distributed as a part of the decedent's estate or its transfer is otherwise to be controlled by the terms of the decedent's will. These limitations shall not apply to proceedings to construe probated wills or to determine heirs of an intestate. In cases under clause (1) or (2), the date on which a testacy or appointment proceeding is properly commenced shall be deemed to be the date of the decedent's death for purposes of other limitations provisions of this chapter which relate to the date of death.

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