(978) 474-4700
Estates with Assets Under 25K


The Personal Representative is responsible for managing and preserving the property titled in the decedent’s name alone. This is generally referred to as probate property and will pass through the decedent’s estate.

Non-probate property is generally jointly held property, retirement assets or life insurance with a named beneficiary (other than the estate), and revocable trust property. Non-probate property passes directly to the named beneficiary and outside of probate.


Voluntary Administration is used when there are small estates with probate assets of $25,000 or less (not including the value of one (1) vehicle).

In order to file a Voluntary Administration of a small estate, the following criteria must be met:

  1. Decedent was a resident of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts according to the Death Certificate;
  2. Petitioner is an interested person (however, does not need to be a resident of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, nor have priority since no appointment of a Personal Representative is made)
  3. Decedent must have left an estate entirely of personal property wherever located the total value of which (excluding one car decedent owned) doesn’t exceed $25,000.00;
  4. No Formal or Informal Petition seeking appointment of PR has been filed in the
  5. Commonwealth;
  6. At least 30 days have passed from the date of the decedent’s death (but the statute of
  7. limitations does not apply); AND
  8. Venue is proper.

If the above criteria are met, the following may be filed by any interested person in order to seek the appointment of a Voluntary Personal Representative:

  1. Voluntary Administration Statement (Form MPC 170);
  2. The original will (if one exists);
  3. Certified Death Certificate; AND
  4. Filing fee of $115.00.

If the above filing requirements are met, the Court shall:

  1. Confirm that there is no other pending Formal or Informal Petition seeking appointment of Personal Representative in said Court;
  2. Docket the pleadings and documents filed as part of the permanent Division record; AND
  3. Issue an attested copy of the Statement duly filed under this section.


Upon the presentation of a copy of an attested copy of the Statement, a Voluntary Personal Representative may:

  1. Receive payment of any debt or obligation in the nature of a debt.
  2. Receive delivery of any chattel (personal property) or asset scheduled in such Statement, surrender policy, note, passbook or other evidentiary instrument scheduled in Statement.
  3. Discharge liability of debtor, obligor or deliverer of assets unless at time of payment or delivery, a written demand was made upon debtor, obligor or deliverer by a duly appointed Personal Representative.

Note: A Voluntary Personal Representative does NOT have the authority to obtain medical records of the decedent. Some other Fiduciary must be appointed to obtain such records.

The Registry of Motor Vehicles still allows for the transfer of motor vehicle to a surviving spouse pursuant to G.L. c. 90D, §15A without any Court proceeding.


The Voluntary Personal Representative is not generally considered a Personal Representative under 1-201(37) and therefore has only the powers conferred by the Code. The Voluntary Personal Representative has the following powers and obligations:

  1. For purposes of G.L. c. 175, §113, paragraph (6) and G.L. c. 90, §2 only, a Voluntary Personal Representative shall be deemed the Personal Representative of the estate until a Personal Representative is appointed.

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