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Suppose you have received a citation in the mail notifying you that your sibling has filed a petition to open an informal probate of the will and appointment of a personal representative for your mother’s estate. You might be wondering: what does this mean and what must I do to object to the petition? This article is meant to provide some of the basics of filing an appearance and objection with the Probate and Family Court.

What is a citation?

A citation is a notice prepared by the Probate and Family Court which must be sent to each interested person in connection with an estate. Click here to see a sample citation. Chances are, if you have received a citation in the mail, you are an heir of the estate or named in the will that has been filed with the Court.

What does a citation notify me of?

A citation notifies the interested person that a petition has been filed and further notifies the interested person that they have until 10:00 AM on the return date to file a written notice of objection.

Why would I want to object to a petition?

There are many reasons that a person may decide to object to a petition. For instance, you may feel that the will being probated is not the most recent will, the will is the product of undue influence, duress, or forgery, the personal representative lacks priority of appointment, or there is some other defect with the petition that should be corrected.

How would I file an objection?

An interested person who wants to object pursuant to M.G.L. c. 190B §1-401(d) should file Notice of Appearance and Objection – MPC Form 505a (If you have trouble opening this form, right click and click “save link as” and open the file outside of your browser). The Notice of Appearance and Objection must be filed with the clerk’s office no later than 10:00 AM on the return date. Objectors are permitted to file an affidavit of objections no later than thirty (30) days of the return date. Id.

The return day is within the next few days, what should I do?

Call an attorney or print out Notice of Appearance and Objection – MPC Form 505a, complete it, and return by hand to the clerk’s office for the Probate and Family Court. If you later decide that you do not want to pursue the objection, you may file a withdrawal of your objection. By filing the objection, you preserve your rights.

If you have received a citation and have questions, contact Benjamin Cote to discuss whether filing an objection is in your best interest.

Copyright © 2020 Stiles Law, All rights reserved. Stiles Law is a Massachusetts licensed law firm and all content is based on Massachusetts law. The information presented above is meant to be used for general informational purposes and it should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts. Always consult with an attorney.