Massachusetts Probate Form MPC 961

Instructions For Voluntary Administration With Or Without A Will

Everything you need to know about Massachusetts Form MPC 961, including helpful tips, fast facts & deadlines, how to fill it out, where to submit it and other related MA probate forms.

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About Instructions For Voluntary Administration With Or Without A Will

There are all sorts of forms executors, beneficiaries, and probate court clerks have to fill out and correspond with during probate and estate settlement, including affidavits, letters, petitions, summons, orders, and notices.

Instructions For Voluntary Administration With Or Without A Will is a commonly used form within Massachusetts. Here’s an overview of what the form is and means, including a breakdown of the situations when (or why) you may need to use it:

(4/15/16) Detailed instructions on how to file MPC 170 for voluntary administration of an estate with or without a will.

Atticus Fast Facts About Instructions For Voluntary Administration With Or Without A Will

Sometimes it’s tough to find a quick summary— here’s the important details you should know about Instructions For Voluntary Administration With Or Without A Will:

  • This form pertains to the State of Massachusetts

Government forms are not typically updated often, though when they are, it often happens rather quietly. While Atticus works hard to keep this information about Massachusetts’s Form MPC 961 - Instructions For Voluntary Administration With Or Without A Will up to date, certain details can change from time-to-time with little or no communication.

How to file Form MPC 961

Step 1 - Download the correct Massachusetts form based on the name and ID if applicable

Double check that you have both the correct form name and the correct form ID. Some Massachusetts probate forms can look remarkably similar, so it’s best to double, even triple-check that you’re using the right one! Keep in mind that not all States have a standardized Form ID system for their probate forms.

Step 2 - Complete the Document

Fill out all relevant fields in Form MPC 961, take a break, and then review. Probate and estate settlement processes in MA are long enough to begin with, and making a silly error can push your timeline even farther back. No thank you!

Note: If you don’t currently know all of the answers and are accessing Form MPC 961 online, be sure to avoid closing the browser tab and potentially losing all your progress (or use a platform like Atticus to help avoid making mistakes).

Step 3 - Have Form MPC 961 witnessed or notarized (if required)

Some States and situations require particular forms to be notarized. If you have been instructed to get the document notarized or see it in writing on the document, then make sure to hire a local notary. There are max notary fees in the United States that are defined and set by local law. Take a look at our full guide to notary fees to make sure you aren’t overpaying or getting ripped off.

Step 4 - Submit Instructions For Voluntary Administration With Or Without A Will to the relevant office

This is most often the local probate court where the decedent (person who passed away) is domiciled (permanently resides) or the institution involved with this particular form (e.g. a bank). Some offices allow you to submit forms online, other’s don’t, and we while we generally recommend going in-person to expedite the process, sometimes that simply isn’t an option.

It’s also a generally good idea to establish a positive working relationship with any probate clerk (unfortunately there’s enough people & process out there making things more difficult and unnecessarily confusing for them), so a best practice is to simply ask the probate clerk proactively exactly how and where they’d prefer you to submit all forms.

Need help getting in touch with a local probate court or identifying a domicile probate jurisdiction?

👉 Find and Contact your Local Probate Court

👉 What is a Domicile Jurisdiction?

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When Instructions For Voluntary Administration With Or Without A Will is due

Different probate forms or processes can require different deadlines or response times for completing the appropriate form.

While some steps in the process are bound to specific deadlines (like petitioning for probate, having to submit an inventory of assets, or filing applicable notices to creditors and beneficiaries), many probate forms or processes are not tied to a specific deadline since the scope of work can vary based on situational factors or requirements involved.

Either way, there are a bunch of practical reasons why personal representatives should work to complete each step as thoroughly and quickly as possible when completing probate in Massachusetts.

5 reasons you should submit MPC 961 as quickly as possible:

  1. The sooner you begin, the faster Massachusetts can allow heirs and beneficiaries to get their share of assets subject to probate. Acting promptly can also decrease the costs & overall mental fatigue through an otherwise burdensome process.

    Helpful Context: What’s the Difference Between Probate and Non-Probate Assets?

  2. In general, creditors of an estate usually have around 3-6 months from the time you file notice to creditors to file any claims for debt against the deceased’s assets. If they don’t, then that debt is forfeited (and more importantly, the executor won’t be held personally responsible). So doing this sooner means you have a better idea of who is owed what and ensures you won’t get a surprise collector months later.

  3. Not filing a will within 30 days (on average) could mean that the probate process proceeds according to intestate laws (laws that govern what happens to someone's stuff without a will) or is subject to unnecessary supervision by the probate court. And if you aren't directly related to the deceased (a.k.a. next of kin), this could also mean you lose your inheritance.

  4. It’s important to file any necessary state tax returns on behalf of the deceased or estate by the following tax season in Massachusetts. If you don’t, you could owe penalties and interest. This also includes any necessary federal tax returns such as Forms 1040, 1041, or even a Form 706 estate tax return.

  5. If a house in the State of Massachusetts is left empty (or abandoned) for a while, insurance can get dicey. For example, if the house burns down and no one has been there for a year, an insurance company may get out of paying your claim.

If you’re not using Atticus to get specific forms, deadlines, and timelines for Massachusetts probate, then try and stay as organized as possible, pay close attention to the dates mentioned in any correspondence you have with the State’s government officials, call the local Massachusetts probate clerk or court for exact answers regarding Form MPC 961, and when in doubt— consult a qualified trust & estates lawyer for that area.

How to Download, Open, and Edit Form MPC 961 Online

Instructions For Voluntary Administration With Or Without A Will is one of the many probate court forms available for download through Atticus.

It may also be available through some Massachusetts probate court sites, such as . In order to access the latest version, be updated with any revisions, and get full instructions on how to complete each form, check out the Atticus Probate & Estate Settlement software or consider hiring a qualified legal expert locally within Massachusetts.

While Atticus automatically provides the latest forms, be sure to choose the correct version of Form MPC 961 - Instructions For Voluntary Administration With Or Without A Will f using any other site or resource in order to avoid having to re-complete the form process and/or make another trip to the Massachusetts probate court office.

Instructions For Voluntary Administration With Or Without A Will is a .pdf, so opening it should be as simple as clicking “View Form” from within the Atticus app or by clicking the appropriate link found on any Massachusetts-provided government platform. Once you’ve opened the form, you should be able to directly edit the form before saving or printing.

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Did you know?

  • Form MPC 961 - Instructions For Voluntary Administration With Or Without A Will is a probate form in Massachusetts.

  • (4/15/16) Detailed instructions on how to file MPC 170 for voluntary administration of an estate with or without a will.

  • Massachusetts has multiple types of probate and the necessary forms depend on the unique aspects of each estate, such as type and value of assets, whether there was a valid will, who is serving as the personal representative or executor, and even whether or not they also live in Massachusetts.

  • During probate, all personal representatives and executives in are required to submit a detailed inventory of assets that must separate non-probate assets from probate assets.

  • Probate in Massachusetts, especially without guidance, can take years to finish and cost upwards of $14,000.

Frequently Asked Questions about Instructions For Voluntary Administration With Or Without A Will

(4/15/16) Detailed instructions on how to file MPC 170 for voluntary administration of an estate with or without a will.

Probate is the government’s way of making sure that when a person dies, the right stuff goes to the right people (including the taxes the government wants).

All of that stuff is collectively known as someone’s “estate”, and it’s the job of the executor or personal representative to fill out all the forms and complete all the required steps to formally dissolve the estate. 

To get instant clarity on the entire probate process and get an idea of the steps, timeline, and best practices, read the Atticus Beginner’s Guide to Probate

The best place? Create an account in Atticus to start getting estate-specific advice. 

You may need a lawyer, you may not, and paying for one when you didn’t need it really hurts. Atticus makes sure you make  the best decisions (plus you can write it off as an executor expense).

We’ve also created a list of other probate services. Be sure to check it out!

An executor is named in someone’s will, and if the deceased didn’t have a will, then the spouse or other close family relative usually steps up to fulfill the role. If no one wants to do it, then a judge will appoint someone. 

The executor is responsible for the complete management of the probate process, including major responsibilities such as:

  • Creating an inventory of all probate assets.

  • Filling out all necessary forms

  • Paying off all estate debts and taxes

  • Submitting reports to the court and beneficiaries as requested

And much more. This process often stretches longer than a year. 

For an idea of what separates executors who succeed from those who make this way harder than it should be, visit our article, Executors of an Estate:
What they do & secrets to succeeding

The Exact Text on Form MPC 961

Here’s the text, verbatim, that is found on Massachusetts Form MPC 961 - Instructions For Voluntary Administration With Or Without A Will. You can use this to get an idea of the context of the form and what type of information is needed.

1 MPC 961 (4/15/16) INSTRUCTIONS FOR VOLUNTARY ADMINISTRATION WITH OR WITHOUT A WILL These general instructions are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Please consult an attorney if you have specific questions. Court staff cannot provide legal advice or assist you with legal decisions. GENERAL INFORMATION A voluntary administration is a simplified procedure and is available whether or not the decedent left a will. To be eligible for voluntary administration, the following criteria must be met: 1) The decedent must have been a resident of Massachusetts at the time of death; 2) The decedent left a probate estate consisting entirely of personal property valued at $25,000 or less (excluding the value of a car) regardless of date of death; 3) Thirty (30) days or more have passed from the date of the decedent’s death; 4) The petitioner must be an interested person as defined by Massachusetts law (G. L. c. 190B, § 1-201(24)) but does not need to be a resident of Massachusetts. In the case of a person who at the person’s death, was receiving services from the Department of Mental Health (DMH), the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) or the Division of Medical Assistance (DMA), the petitioner may be any person designated to act as a voluntary personal representative (“VPR”) of the estate of the person by DMH, DDS or DMA; and 5) No other proceeding seeking to probate the decedent’s will or appoint a personal representative has been filed. Alert: For purposes of filing a voluntary administration, a creditor is NOT an interested person. If an interested person is a minor, the minor’s parents may NOT file on behalf of the minor without prior court authority. Note: A determination of heirs and an adjudication of testacy are made only in a formal probate proceeding. FILING FEES The total fee required to file for voluntary administration is $115.00. The fee is broken down as follows: $100 for the filing of the Voluntary Administration Statement and a $15.00 surcharge fee to assign a docket number. The $115.00 filing fee includes one (1) attested copy of the Voluntary Administration Statement issued by the Register of Probate. OTHER FEES The following court fees are optional and will only be assessed upon request: □ Copy, attested = $2.50 per page; □ Copy, unattested = $1.00 per page COMMON TERMS Docket Number: The number the court assigns to your case. Petitioner: Interested persons identified by Massachusetts law who can file a petition. Decedent: The person who died. Heirs at Law: At the time of the decedent’s death, persons who are entitled to receive the decedent’s property under the intestacy succession laws if there is no will. For more information, see the Intestate Succession Charts at the end of these instructions. 2 MPC 961 (4/15/16) Devisees: Persons, entities, charitable organizations, or trusts designated in a will to receive the decedent’s personal or real property. In the case of a devise to an existing trust or trustees, or to a trustee or trust established by the will, the trust or trustee is the devisee and the beneficiaries are not devisees. Probate Estate: All of the real and personal property the decedent owned in his or her name alone on the date of death that is subject to probate. Interested Persons: Persons identified by Massachusetts law who can file a petition and who also must be notified of a court proceeding. The term may include a surviving spouse, children, heirs at law, devisees, creditors, fiduciaries representing interested persons and persons having priority for appointment as personal representative, depending on the circumstances. Intestate: An estate in which the decedent did not leave a will. Testate: An estate in which the decedent did leave a will. Voluntary Personal Representative: A person at least 18 years of age who has an interest in the decedent’s estate and who undertakes to administer the decedent’s estate without the formality of a court appointment. FORMS Forms required to file for voluntary administration may be obtained: 1) from the registry in each county Probate and Family Court; or 2) from the MUPC Hub located on the Probate and Family Court’s website at You may complete a form online and print or you may print the form and type or print legibly in black or blue ink. All required forms must be submitted as a complete packet. A complete packet consists of the following court approved forms and documents depending on whether the decedent died with a will (testate) or without a will (intestate): STEPS TO FILING YOUR CASE STEP 1: Complete All Forms You must complete all applicable sections of each form. If you are unsure how to complete a form, see the MUPC Estate Administration Procedural Guide located at family-court/mupc-procedural-guide.pdf 3 MPC 961 (4/15/16) □ Voluntary Administration Statement (MPC 170)  Complete all applicable sections of this form.  ALERT: The petitioner must certify on the petition that the petitioner gave written notice prior to petitioning for voluntary administration by sending a copy of the petition and a copy of the death certificate by certified mail to the Division of Medical Assistance, Estate Recovery Unit. As of the time of this publication, the address is P. O. Box 15205, Worcester, MA 01615-0205. The Division of Medical Assistance is NOT the court. □ Affidavit as to Cause of Death (MPC 475)  This form must be filed if the decedent’s cause of death is listed on the death certificate as “homicide” or “pending”. Other causes of death do not require the Affidavit. □ Affidavit of Domicile (MPC 485)  This form must be filed if the address of the decedent is incorrectly listed on the death certificate. STEP 2: Obtain Other Documents for Filing □ Certified Copy of the Death Certificate  A certified copy of the decedent’s death certificate must be filed.  Death certificates of Massachusetts residents can be obtained from the Town Hall where the person was residing at the time of death or from the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics. For information, see of-vital-records.html. □ Original Will  The original will must be filed if the decedent died with a will. STEP 3: File Papers with the Court  Provide the court with all required forms and documents completed above and pay the $115 filing fee.  You must file the Voluntary Administration Statement in the county Probate and Family Court where the decedent resided at the time of death. For a listing of Massachusetts counties and the cities and towns within, see **Important Information – Please Read** Review all completed forms for accuracy prior to filing with the court. If you do not understand any form, do not sign it! Please consult an attorney for legal advice. Court staff cannot provide legal advice or assist you with legal decisions. WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT  Once filed, an attested copy of the Voluntary Administration Statement will be provided to the petitioner by mail or in-person. WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION? A detailed description of each probate process can be found in the MUPC Estate Administration Procedural Guide: A Guide to Estate Administration Practices & Procedures in the Probate and Family Court, located at: 4 MPC 961 (4/15/16) 5 MPC 961 (4/15/16) 6 MPC 961 (4/15/16)

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