By Robert Nislick

If a loved one who was living in Massachusetts dies, and his or her estate consists of only of a car and other personal property not exceeding $25,000.00, then you may be able to take advantage of an expedited procedure for probating your loved one’s estate, called voluntary administration.

If thirty days have passed since the death of the decedent, and no petition for appointment of a personal representative has been filed, then any interested person can file a Voluntary Administration Statement, a certified copy of the death certificate, the original will if there is one, and a fee of $115, with the Probate Court for the county in which he or she resided. The petitioner also must send a copy of the statement and death certificate by certified mail to the Division of Medical Assistance.

Thereafter, the register of probate will issue an attested copy of the Voluntary Administration Statement to the person who filed the petition. This person is called the Voluntary Personal Representative.

A Voluntary Personal Representative has the authority to receive payment of debts, personal property, or assets listed in the statement, and also sell any chattel or asset to convert it to cash. See G. L. c. 190B, § 3-1201.

A Voluntary Personal Representative has several responsibilities as well, including to pay for the deceased’s final expenses out of any assets which come into his hands, not charge for his services, and to pay the debts of the deceased, and then distribute the balance, if any, all in accordance with the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code.

About the author: Robert Nislick is a Massachusetts attorney.  He can be reached at (508) 405-1238, or by e-mail at

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