In Massachusetts, the Probate and Family Court governs the procedures regarding Wills.
The Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (MUPC) sets out the laws regarding decedents' Wills in Massachusetts. Shortly after someone's death, their Will must be filed with the court. Typically, the person filing the Will also petitions for the allowance of the Will and the appointment of a Personal Representative of the estate (formerly called an Executor). This process is known as probating the Will.
While the concept of probating the Will is simple, the mechanics are a bit complicated. Under the MUPC there are now four ways to administer an estate (voluntary, informal, formal, and supervised), an the chosen method determines the procedures involved in probating the Will. In addition to the Will and Petition, many appurtenant documents are also required.
Typically, at some point in the probate process, the Petitioner will serve legal notice via Citation on interested parties. This is done through the mail, and by publishing notice in the legal section of a local newspaper. Interested parties then have a period of time to object to the allowance and appointment. If objections are made, a judge will consider them at a hearing, and rule accordingly.
Once the Will is allowed and the Personal Representative has been appointed, then the administration of the estate can commence.