My mother died, and left me as a beneficiary and an executor of her estate, a small bank account and home

I have only one brother that gets nothing unless I sell the house. What forms do I need to fill out to probate the will so I can get to the money to pay off her debt and have the ability to do with the house whatever I decide, live in or sell.

Hyannis, MA -

Attorney Answers (4)

Brian C. Snell

Brian C. Snell

Probate Attorney - Reading, MA
Answered

In addition to the answer provided by Attorney Hunt, you mentioned that you may want to sell the house. If in fact the house was titled in your mother's name and you need to probate her estate, you will need to file a formal probate. The alternative is to file both an informal probate and a petition for a license to sell the real estate.

I might add that the procedure is not as straightforward as it was. You would be best to consult with an attorney in the county where your mother lived.

In closing I want to also say how sorry I am for your loss and I wish you the best.

Lawrence Douglas Hunt

Lawrence Douglas Hunt

Probate Attorney - New Bedford, MA
Answered

I am sorry for your loss. What you need to file with the Probate Court depends in part on how the bank account and house were titled. If in your mother's sole name, then you would generally need to file a petition for probate and a bond form to begin the process. Under the new Massachusetts Probate Code you would have the option of filing a formal or informal probate. Which you file depends in part on whether your brother is willing to agree to your petition for appointment as executor. You may want to consider discussing these issues, as well as other issues concnering how to administer the will once it is allowed by the probate court, with an attorney.

E. Alexandra Golden

E. Alexandra Golden

Probate Attorney - Needham, MA
Answered

I'm sorry for your loss

One other thing to add -- the Probate Courts are finding themselves overwhelmed by all the changes in the new law (which only went into effect on April 1) as well as by staffing cuts. If you try to ask them substantive questions, in all likelihood they'll tell you to go get an attorney. You'll need an attorney anyway to advise you about procedure, taxes, real estate issues, and so forth. So go find a good local probate lawyer and save yourself some stress.

E. Alexandra "Sasha" Golden is a Massachusetts lawyer. All answers are based on Massachusetts law. All answers are... more
Christopher W. Vaughn-Martel

Christopher W. Vaughn-Martel

Family Law Attorney - Boston, MA
Answered

I am sorry for your loss.

I agree with the others, especially the sentiment of Attorney Golden, that the courts are so overwhelmed right now. If they answer the phone, they are unlikely to be able to help you, and they will expect you to do things correctly. Sometimes a mistake will lay dormant because they do not catch it, and then cause a problem months or years later when the parties need to sell the house, etc.

To generally answer your question, however, you will need to petition the court for your appointment as personal representative and have the will allowed. You will want to deal with the Probate and Family Court in the county where your mother resided at the time of her death. My advice would be to retain counsel.

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