Probate is a necessary process of distributing your property after your death. The Massachusetts probate process involves identifying and gathering the deceased’s probate property, paying debts, taxes, and expenses, and then distributing the remaining assets to those persons named in the last will and testament. When a person dies without a will, the property is distributed according to Massachusetts intestacy law, which attempts to duplicate what the average person would do if they so designated – to spouses, children, parents and next of kin.
If the decedent's probate estate is less than $15,000, with one automobile, the process may take about sixty days or less. Typically probate estates are in excess of such amounts, and take a minimum of 12 months until the final account can be prepared for the Probate Court. The majority of the estate administration may be completed within nine months from the date of death, however, the decedent's creditors have the right to sue to recover any debts for one year. After this period has expired, the final account may be submitted to the Probate Court for approval. A typical estate administration may last up to two years depending upon the nature of the assets involved in the probate estate.