Massachusetts offers a probate shortcut for "small estates." This makes it easier for survivors to transfer property left by a person who has died. You may be able to transfer a large amount of property using the following probate shortcut -- saving time, money, and hassle.
Massachusetts has a simplified probate process for small estates. To use it, an executor files a written request with the local probate court asking to use the simplified procedure. The court may authorize the executor to distribute the assets without having to jump through the hoops of regular probate.
Massachusetts offers a probate shortcut for two situations:
For the first option, the executor must include the following in a sworn statement or affidavit:
The executor attaches a copy of the will and death certificate to the statement and pays a fee to the court clerk. The court issues a copy of the affidavit to the executor, and this serves as proof of authority for that person to claim assets of the deceased person. The executor must pay debts, starting with necessary expenses of the funeral, last illness and administration of the estate. The executor must also notify the Massachusetts Division of Medical Assistance of the death and distribute any remaining property to the heirs or beneficiaries. There is a 30-day waiting period to use this process. (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. § § 3-1201, 1202).
For the required closing statement for the second option, the personal representative must provide a sworn statement that says:
For help determining if an estate qualifies for one of these probate shortcuts, or handling an estate in general, see The Executor's Guide, by Mary Randolph (Nolo) or Estate Planning Basics, by Denis Clifford (Nolo).