Voluntary administration – A simplified probate proceeding

On Behalf of | Aug 6, 2021 | probate

Did you lose a loved one who had few assets to their name and no real estate upon their passing? If so, you may be eligible for a simplified probate process known as “voluntary administration.”  Voluntary administration may be an option even if your loved one did not have a will. The following is an overview of the requirements that must be met to be eligible for voluntary administration.

Residency requirements

In order to be eligible for voluntary administration, the decedent must have resided in Massachusetts. Non-residents are not eligible for voluntary administration. Another probate proceeding for the same estate cannot be pending in order to qualify for voluntary administration in Massachusetts. At least 30 days must pass following the decedent’s death before you can begin voluntary administration proceedings.

Asset requirements

There are limits to how much the decedent left in assets in order to qualify for voluntary administration. Voluntary administration is only available to those whose estate only had personal property amounting to $25,000 or less, excluding the value of an automobile.

Petitioner requirements

The person petitioning for voluntary administration is required to be an interested person, but they need not reside in Massachusetts. Creditors are not interested persons for voluntary administration purposes. If the interested person is under age 18, that person’s parents are not permitted to file on behalf of the minor without first obtaining authorization from the court to do so. If the decedent was receiving certain state services, the person designated as Voluntary Personal Representative of the estate can serve as a petitioner.

Voluntary administration and probate

Probate proceedings can be overwhelming when a loved one dies, even the simplified voluntary administration process. Fortunately, help is available. Our firm’s webpage on probate in Massachusetts may be of interest to those who want further information on this topic.