At Curley Law Firm LLP, we understand that the Massachusetts laws regarding the estate of a person who died without a will can seem complex. If your loved one did not designate someone to take care of his or her financial and personal property, the responsibilities of probate administration fall to the spouse. However, you may want to step in and take care of these responsibilities to lessen the stress for the spouse during this time of grieving.
According to Mass.gov, here is what you need to do:
Determine whether the decedent's estate is eligible
If your loved one was not a resident of Massachusetts when he or she died, no one can volunteer to become the administrator with the Massachusetts probate court. If he or she was, then the next step is discovering whether the value of the estate is less than $25,000. This does not include the value of the decedent's vehicle. As long as the estate meets this qualification, then after 30 days, if no one else has filed a request to become the personal representative, you may apply as long as you are an interested person.
Determine whether you are an interested person
Only an interested person can file a petition to become the voluntary administrator of the estate. You may qualify if you meet one of the following descriptions:
- You are an adult child of the deceased
- You are a receiver of real estate that belonged to the deceased
- You are a fiduciary representing one or more of the interested persons
- You are an heir at law, meaning the law entitles you to receive property based on the state's intestacy succession laws
- You have priority to be appointed as the representative of the estate
Under some circumstances, creditors may legally be interested persons, but they cannot file for voluntary administration. Minors also may not volunteer, even if they are interested persons.
More information about probate administration is available on our webpage.