When can people use the informal probate process?

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2023 | Estate Planning

One of the unfortunate facts of life in Massachusetts is that no one lives forever. Everyone will pass away at some point in time, but knowing that does not make it any easier on people’s loved ones who survive them. For some, the pain can be more than just mourning the loss of the loved one. If a peeson is a personal representative of the deceased’s estate, they may also need to handle the probate process.

Probate can be time consuming and complicated, depending on the circumstances. It is also something many personal representatives do not have a good understanding of and may have heard horror stories about probate. However, there may be an option available to people to go through a less-complicated probate process.

Requirements for informal probate

There are two main types of probate processes: informal and formal. The informal process is the easier of the two processes, but in order to use the informal probate process, the estate must meet certain conditions. The requirements for informal probate are:

  • The personal representative must have the original will and the original death certificate
  • The personal representative must have top priority to be named personal representative
  • The children or incapacitated heirs must have guardians other than the person filing the probate
  • The court has not required formal probate for another reason such as there are no challenges to the will

If people in Massachusetts are able to use the informal probate process, it can save them time. Judges do not need to approve decisions being made by the personal representative. This makes the administration easier since the personal representative can gather and distribute the assets to beneficiaries without waiting for court approval. The personal representative still has certain requirements they need to complete when administering the estate and consulting with experienced attorneys could be beneficial.