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Cost of Probate in Massachusetts

Curious about the cost of probate in Massachusetts? Read our guide that covers everything about Massachusetts probate fees.

Byron Ricardo Batres

Byron Ricardo Batres, @ByronBatres

General Manager, Probate, Trust & Will

Probate is the process of transferring assets from a decedent's estate to his or her heirs and beneficiaries. The process is a little bit different in every state, but overall it’s pretty similar. One of the variations can be how much it costs. The average cost of probate in Massachusetts can widely vary, and there are a handful of things that can influence it, including:  

  • The size of the estate

  • How complicated it is

  • Whether or not anyone is contesting the Will

  • What Estate Plans are valid

  • Whether or not a probate attorney is retained

  • Etc. 

[Need help with probate? We offer helpful probate services and will work with you to find the plan that meets your needs. Learn more.]

Common Probate Fees in Massachusetts

Even though probate fees in Massachusetts might differ from estate to estate, there are a few things you can almost certainly expect to pay.

  • If you use a probate attorney, there will be a cost associated with that

  • Various Appraisal, Land Survey and Accounting fees

  • Personal Representative fees/compensation - Massachusetts is a reasonable compensation state

  • Probate/Administrator Bonds are generally required by county courts in Massachusetts (price will range)

  • Etc.

Common Questions About Probate in Massachusetts

How Long Does Probate Take in Massachusetts?

Probate in Massachusetts could take 9 - 12 months for very simple estates. That said, complexity comes into play pretty heavily, and some estates can take up to two years or longer to settle. 

What is UPC in Massachusetts?

Uniform Probate Code (UPC) tried to make the probate process easier. But only 18 states (including Massachusetts) have adopted the code thus far, so it’s not been as effective as once hoped. The UPC says there are three types of probate proceedings:

  • Informal

  • Unsupervised

  • Supervised formal 

How Much Does a Probate Lawyer Cost in Massachusetts?

It probably won’t be surprising to hear that probate attorney fees in Massachusetts can end up being a wide range. They’re largely based on the details of the estate and how complicated the proceedings will be, as well as how experienced the lawyer you use is. 

How to Avoid Probate in Massachusetts?

There are a number of ways to avoid probate (or at least simplify the process) in Massachusetts.

  • Put assets in a Living Trust

  • Update beneficiary designations and make sure you have contingent beneficiaries in place

  • Use Joint Ownership to title property

Finally, small estates that don’t meet a certain threshold can also avoid probate. 

What is Considered a Small Estate in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts does not have what’s known as an Affidavit procedure for small estates, but they do have a summary probate procedure. An estate value must be less than $25,000 and have no real property to qualify. 

Who Pays Probate Fees in Massachusetts?

Many people worry about how to pay for all the costs associated with probate. But the good news is all fees, including probate lawyer fees in Massachusetts, can be covered using funds from the estate.