Can I be an administrator ofmy mother’s estate as named executor if I live out of state?

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Can I be an administrator ofmy mother’s estate as named executor if I live out of state?

I am named as 1 of 2 executors of my deceased mother’s Will. The probate desk clerk said I couldn’t administrate and would have to appoint a MA agent because I live in ME. My brother, the other named executor, intends to decline. I’m really sweating this now because there only exists a small residence in disrepair and a few household possessions worth no more than $85,000, maybe. Yet there are three liens, one of them being a second mortgage for $20,000 and other debts. I don’t have the funds for a lawyer, so any legal fees would have to come out of the residual estate.

Asked on September 29, 2011 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  The information that you have from the clerk is true: an out-of-state individual may serve as long as a resident is named to be agent for the estate in the state where the Will is filed. This is mainly for service of process of paperwork for the estate.  Would it be possible for you to name your brother as agent if he resides in MA even if he does not intend on acting as an executor?  It is my understanding that his duties as agent would be far less than that of an executor.  Also, you have not given the value of the house but from what you have listed here then estate is relatively small (although not a small estate category under MA law) so it may not be much to administer. An attorney may not take the matter on if there is no retainer paid up front.  It is such a catch 22 as you could probably sell enough of the possessions to obtain a retainer but you can not until you are appointed.  You can try and file the petition yourself - they are generally not that difficult to fill out.  It is all the other things like notice to creditors that can get crazy. Try and explain all this to your brother in nickels and dimes, so to speak. If you have to hire an agent it comes out of his inheritance.  Plain and simple.  Good luck.


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