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General Laws

Section 3-306. [Informal Probate; Notice Requirements.]

(a) The petitioner shall give written notice seven days prior to petitioning for informal probate or appointment by delivery or by mail: (1) to all heirs and devisees; (2) to any person having a prior or equal right to appointment not waived in writing and filed with the court; and (3) to any personal representative of the decedent whose appointment has not been terminated. The notice shall be delivered or sent by ordinary mail to each of the heirs and devisees. A certificate that such notice has been given, setting forth the names and addresses of those to whom notice has been given shall be prima facie evidence thereof. No other prior notice of an informal probate or appointment proceeding is required.

(b) The petitioner shall publish a notice once in a newspaper designated by the register of probate having general circulation in the county where the proceeding is pending, the publication of which is to be not more than thirty days after informal probate or appointment. The court or magistrate for good cause shown may provide for a different method or time of giving notice.

(c) The notice shall include the name and address of the petitioner and personal representative, indicate that it is provided to persons who have or may have some interest in the estate being administered, indicate whether bond with or without surety will be filed, and describe the court where papers relating to the estate are on file. The notice shall state that the estate is being administered under informal procedure by the personal representative under the Massachusetts uniform probate code without supervision by the court, that inventory and accounts are not required to be filed with the court, but that interested parties are entitled to notice regarding the administration from the personal representative and can petition the court in any matter relating to the estate, including distribution of assets and expenses of administration. The notice shall state that interested parties are entitled to petition the court to institute formal proceedings and to obtain orders terminating or restricting the powers of personal representatives appointed under informal procedure.

(d) If it appears from the petition that there is no spouse or heir of the decedent or that any devisee is a charity, the petitioner shall give notice to the attorney general of the commonwealth.

(e) If it appears from the petition that a spouse, heir or devisee is a minor or an incapacitated person, the petitioner shall give notice to that person and that person’s guardian or conservator.

(f) The duty shall not extend to require notice to persons who have been adjudicated in a prior formal testacy proceeding to have no interest in the estate. The petitioner’s failure to give this notice is a breach of duty to the persons concerned but shall not affect the validity of the probate, appointment, powers or other duties. A petitioner may inform other persons of the petition by delivery or ordinary first class mail.

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