How Do I Start the Probate Process in Massachusetts?
The first step is to determine if the decedent left a will. The will should identify the person chosen as the personal representative. That individual is the one who should initiate the process.
If there is no will, or if the will does not designate anyone still alive and willing to serve as a personal representative, an heir with legal priority will need to start the process. If there is a surviving spouse, that person has first priority. If there is no spouse, the next in line are children of the decedent or their children. If there are no descendants and no spouse, the decedents siblings will have priority.
The second step is to identify the correct probate court. This will be the probate court for the county where the decedent lived at the time of death.
The next step is to actually file a petition for appointment as a personal representative in the appropriate court. Many families are able to take advantage of the informal probate proceedings. The state has provided online instructions for probating an estate. You can do this yourself, especially if the estate is simple and there are no disputes, but you can also hire an attorney to make sure the process is completed correctly.
Learn more here about how to initiate the probate process.
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