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In Massachusetts, there are two common ways for an estate to sell a deceased person’s real estate.

Situation #1: the decedent left a last will & testament

If the decedent left a will then, in most cases, a person will be named to act as the estate’s personal representative. The will typically gives the personal representative power to sell the decedent’s real estate without a “license” from probate court. Once the court allows the will and approves the personal representative’s appointment, the real estate may be sold.

Situation #2: the decedent did not leave a last will & testament

If the decedent did not leave a will, then the estate needs a license to sell real estate from probate court. This means that the estate must be probated, a personal representative must be approved by the court, and, finally, the personal representative must file a petition with the court requesting permission to sell the decedent’s real estate at a certain price.