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In Massachusetts, there are 3 types of probate, as well as a simplified procedure called voluntary administration.
Informal probate is an administrative proceeding and is processed by a Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (MUPC) Magistrate instead of a judge. Hearings aren't required or allowed by the court. Informal probate can be an expedited process if all the requirements of the law are met. A Magistrate can issue an informal order as early as 7 days after the decedent’s death.
Informal probate isn't available if:
Formal probate matters are typically heard by a judge and may involve one or more hearings before the court. Formal probate may be required for several reasons, including:
You may need to petition for late and limited formal probate for several reasons, including if:
The court may accept a petition to:
A late and limited appointed personal representative can't seek a license to sell real estate of the decedent. The personal representative’s authority is limited to confirming title to estate assets in the successors and paying expenses of administration.
Voluntary administration is a simplified procedure for an estate with minimal assets and no real estate. It's available whether or not the decedent left a will. To be eligible for voluntary administration:
Voluntary administration isn't available if another probate proceeding is pending. The authority of the voluntary personal representative is limited by the law and doesn't result in an official appointment by the court.