what does surety vs non surety in naming an administrator of an estate without a will? Thanks

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what does surety vs non surety in naming an administrator of an estate without a will? Thanks

Asked on May 29, 2009 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

In MA if the total estate is less than $15,000, excluding a motor vehicle, and the decedent owned no real estate a voluntary administration would be the way to settle the estate.  This procedure is simpler, less costly, less involved and quicker than a regular administration. 

The heirs at law and the persons who take under the will are listed on the petition.  A brief inventory of the decedent's property is listed on the petition.  All parties of interest are entitled to actual notice of the petition. Sending them a copy of the citation that is published in the newspaper by certified mail is proper. Once the return day has passed and Return of Service is made to the Court, the petition can be allowed and the appointment of the Voluntary Administrator can be finalized by the Court.

The following are not required in a Voluntary Administration:

A. A fiduciary bond

B. An separate inventory of decedent's property

C. A fiduciary accounting of funds and personal property received and spent or disbursed

Under certain circumstances an estate would require a regular Administration to settle the estate.  Specifically, a regular administration is necessary when the decedant dies intestate (without a will),  the value of the estate is greater than $15,000, or the decedent owned real estate in his/her sole name at the time of their death, 

Persons entitled to petition the Probate Court to be appointed administrator are spelled out by Massachusetts law.  If no one files a petition within thirty days of the date of death, a creditor of the estate or decedent is then entitled to file the petition and become administrator.

Requirements for Regular Administration are: 

1. Petition naming all decedent's heirs at law

2. Fiduciary Bond with Sureties

3. Inventory of all personal property and real estate owned by the decedent

4. Military Affidavit

5. Filing Fee for petition and fiduciary bond

6. Publication of citation issued by Court in local newspaper

7. Accounting for all funds and property received, funds spent, and disbursements to legatees and or heirs, submitted and approved by the Court.

Hope this helps.

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