Poor Man’s Probate: Voluntary Administration

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There is a simplified probate process for those who die with small estates.


The process is referred to as Voluntary Administration and it’s available when all of the following criteria are met:

  1.  The decedent was a Massachusetts’ resident at the time of death.
  2. The decedent’s estate consists entirely of personal property valued at $25,000 or less–excluding the value of one car.
  3. At least 30 days have passed since the decedent’s death.
  4. The person probating the estate is a person of interest according to M.G.L. c. 190B, section 1-201(24).


The person probating the estate (i.e., the petitioner) must complete and/or submit the following forms:

  1. If the decedent had a will, then the original will must be presented to the court.
  2. You’ll need to provide a certified copy of the decedent’s death certificate.
  3. You’ll also need to complete and sign a Voluntary Administration Statement.  This document is referred to as form MPC 170 and can be found on the state’s website.
  4. A copy of the completed MPC 170 and death certificate must be mailed to MassHealth’s Estate Recovery Unit.  Their address is P.O. Box 15205, Worcester, MA 01615.
  5. Finally you’ll need a check for $115 made payable to the registry of probate.

If you have any questions regarding the probate process or estate planning, please feel free contact me via email: justin@jrmccarthy.com.


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