Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Massachusetts

Locating an alleged inheritor

My aunt died in Mass. without a will. There is allegedly a cousin who may be considered as a legal heir in this case. Everyone is very old, and everyone in the family believes she has already pre-deceased my aunt. How long must we legally wait for this cousin to come forward and identify herself before we can distribute and settle the estate. We are unable to find her.

Asked on 5/25/05, 12:06 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Tom Flynn Law Offices of Thomas V. Flynn

Re: Locating an alleged inheritor

Not sure where you are in process, but it sounds like you need to administer the estate...

The administration of an estate is the court process which allows for the settlement of the estate of a person who has died without a will.

Any person having an interest in the estate may petition the court to be appointed the administrator of the estate. The petition must list all persons with an interest in the estate who qualify under the laws of intestacy. This would include the cousin in question. The Court then issues a citation to the petitioner who mails a copy to all persons listed on the petition and publishes it in the newspaper designated by the Court. Thus if you cannot locate your cousin the newpaper publication covers notice. Persons having an interest in the estate may file an objection to the petition. The administrator is appointed by decree of the Court.

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Answered on 5/26/05, 5:02 am

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