Probate, trust, guardianship and inheritance litigation
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Who Can Be Personal Representative In Massachusetts?

The basic requirements for serving as a personal representative in Massachusetts are that the personal representative must be:

  1. At least 18 years old, and
  2. Of sound mind (not adjudicated incapacitated).

MA Gen L ch 190B § 3-203.  In a formal estate proceeding, a person is not qualified to serve as personal representative if the court finds the appointment to be contrary to the best interests of the estate.

Who Has Priority To Serve As Personal Representative In Massachusetts?

Massachusetts law sets forth a priority among persons seeking appointment as personal representative.  Whether the proceedings are formal or informal, persons have priority for appointment as personal representative in Massachusetts in the following order:

  1. the person with priority as determined by a probated will including a person nominated by a power conferred in a will;
  2. the surviving spouse of the decedent who is a devisee of the decedent;
  3. other devisees of the decedent;
  4. the surviving spouse of the decedent;
  5. other heirs of the decedent;
  6. if there is no known spouse or next of kin, a public administrator appointed pursuant to chapter 194.

MA Gen L ch 190B § 3-203.

Can Someone Object To The Person Seeking Appointment As Personal Representative?

An objection the appointment of personal representative can be made only in formal proceedings.  If someone objects, the priorities set forth above apply except that:

  • if the estate appears to be more than adequate to meet exemptions and costs of administration but inadequate to discharge anticipated unsecured claims, the court, on petition of creditors, may appoint any qualified person;
  • in case of objection to appointment of a person other than one whose priority is determined by will by an heir or devisee appearing to have a substantial interest in the estate, the court may appoint a person who is acceptable to the heirs and devisees or, in default of agreement any suitable person.


Can Someone From Out of State Serve As a Massachusetts Personal Representative?

Yes, someone who is qualified to serve but lives out of state can still serve as a personal representative of a Massachusetts estate.

A Massachusetts probate lawyer can help you.


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