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General Laws

Section 3-403. [Formal Testacy Proceedings; Notice of Hearing on Petition.]

(a) Upon commencement of a formal testacy proceeding, notice shall be given in the manner prescribed by section 1-401 by the petitioner to the persons herein enumerated.

(b) Notice shall be given to the following persons: the surviving spouse, children, and other heirs of the decedent, the devisees and executors named in any will that is being, or has been, probated, or offered for informal or formal probate in the county, or that is known by the petitioner to have been probated, or offered for informal or formal probate elsewhere, and any personal representative of the decedent whose appointment has not been terminated. Notice may be given to other persons. In addition, the petitioner shall give notice by publication to all unknown persons and to all known persons whose addresses are unknown who have any interest in the matters being litigated.

(c) The notice shall include the name and address of the petitioner and personal representative, indicate that it is being sent 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 formal 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 recipients 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.

(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.

(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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