Law Office of Richard M. Russell
197 Palmer Avenue
Falmouth, Massachusetts 02540
508.457.7557

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"Closing" A Probate Estate

closing a probate estate
Closing A Probate Estate: The primary purpose of closing a probate estate is to discharge the personal representative of his or her duties, that is, confirm that the role of personal representative has been successfully completed. Without closing an estate, a personal representative remains subject to claims of unsatisfied creditors or heirs. Of course, the exposure of the personal representative differs in different contexts, larger or more complex estates ordinarily creating greater exposure. There are three options to close an estate.

Options to Close an Estate: The following options are available to a personal representative to close an estate:

Do Nothing: A personal representative is not required to close an estate. If an estate is not closed, the personal representative is subject to future claims of dissatisfied creditors or heirs (as is his or her estate for some time following his or her death).

Closing Statement: A personal representative may close an estate by filing in court a verified statement reflecting that the personal representative has fully administered the estate by paying all expenses of administration, paying all creditor claims, and distributing the balance to the people entitled. After one year has passed from the filing of the closing statement, the personal representative is relieved from liability except for fraud or manifest error. Thus, a closing statement eliminates (for the most part) exposure after one year from filing. The from can be found here

Petition for Order of Complete Settlement: Following one year from the death of the decedent, a personal representative may petition the court for an order of complete settlement of an estate. A petition for order of complete settlement requires notice to or assent of all interested persons. The petition must include a final account of trust activities, which the petition requests the court approve. If the court approves the petition, the personal representative is relieved of liability except for fraud or manifest error. Thus, approval of a petition for order of complete settlement provides a more prompt resolution, though at greater effort and expense. Both a closing statement and petition for order of complete settlement require modest filing fees. The from can be found here