There are several different types of probate procedures when dealing with a deceased person’s estate, and this can mean that it can be overwhelming to choose the best process for the situation that you are facing.

The following is an overview of the four probate options that you have in the state of Massachusetts.

Voluntary administration

The simplest procedure for going through probate in Massachusetts is though voluntary administration. This can be done when 30 days have passed since the decedent’s death, and it is possible to do regardless of whether there was a will or trust left behind. The value of the estate, excluding the car value, must be less than $25,000, however.

Informal probate

The Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (MUPC) magistrate processes an informal probate instead of a judge doing so. This is usually a quick and easy process, and can be done just a week after the person’s death.

Formal probate

The formal probate process involves going through a judge hearing. This is likely to be a more complex process, with the potential for several hearings. This may be required in order to clear up any ambiguities in terms, to appoint a Special Personal Representative, or if the will is a copy of the original.

Limited formal probate

In certain situations, for example if a formal testacy is needed, a late or a limited formal probate may be needed. This will mean that the personal representative will not be able to sell the real estate of the decedent.

Choosing the best probate option can be difficult. It is important to reflect on your situation before making a decision on how to move forward.

Source: Mass.gov, “Learn about the types of probate for an estate,” accessed Dec. 15, 2017