TN 9 (06-13)
GN 02315.059 Massachusetts Small Estates
Massachusetts’ small estates law is found in its civil code under chapter 190B, article III, part 12, sections 3-1201 to 3-1204.
COMMENT: Massachusetts changed its probate laws in 2012 and repealed chapter 195, among other parts of the code.
A. Voluntary personal representative in Massachusetts
If a person domiciled in Massachusetts dies leaving an estate consisting entirely of personal property, and the total value which may include a motor vehicle the decedent owned, and other personal property does not exceed $25,000 in value (the value of the motor vehicle does not count against the $25,000 ceiling), any interested person may file, with the court of the county where the decedent resided. The interested party must file, on a form prescribed by the court, a statement (verified by oath or affirmation) that the person will act as voluntary administrator of the estate.
This procedure applies after the expiration of 30 days from the death of the decedent, provided no petition for appointment of a personal representative has been filed with the court of the county where the decedent resided.
The form, verified by oath or affirmation, must contain:
the name and residential address of the affiant;
the name, residence, and date of death of the deceased;
the relationship of the affiant to the deceased;
a schedule showing every asset of the estate known to the affiant and the estimated value of each such asset;
a statement that the affiant has undertaken to act as voluntary administrator and will administer the estate according to the law, and apply the proceeds thereof in conformity with this law; and
the names and addresses of people (known to the affiant) with rights to the estate under a will or intestacy law. If there is a will, the affiant must file it with the form.
B. Court-Appointed personal representative in Massachusetts
A small estate may also be administered by a court-appointed personal representative (chapter 190B, article III, part 12, sections 3-1203, 3-1204). A person is a court-appointed personal representative if :
an order of a court or magistrate appoints the person (chapter 190B, art. III, part 1, section 3-103),
the person qualifies, by filing a bond with the appointing court or magistrate (section 3-601); and
the person received “letters” by the appointing court or magistrate, authorizing them to collect assets (sections 1-201(28), 1-305, and Article III, Comment 9).