[Collection of Personal Property by Affidavit.]
If a person domiciled in the commonwealth dies leaving an estate consisting entirely of personal property the total value of which may include a motor vehicle of which the decedent was the owner, and other personal property not exceeding $25,000 in value, any interested person or, in the case of a person who at the person's death, was receiving services from the department of mental health, the department of developmental services or the division of medical assistance, any person designated to act as a voluntary personal representative of the estate of the person by the department of mental health, the department of developmental services or the division of medical assistance may, after the expiration of 30 days from the death of the decedent, provided no petition for appointment of a personal representative has been filed with the court of the county in which the decedent resided, file with said court upon a form prescribed by the court a statement, verified by oath, or affirmation containing: (a) the name and residential address of the petitioner, (b) the name, residence and date of death of the deceased, (c) the relationship of the petitioner to the deceased, (d) a schedule showing every asset of the estate known to the petitioner and the estimated value of each such asset, (e) a statement that the petitioner has undertaken to act as voluntary personal representative of the estate of the deceased and will administer the same according to law, and apply the proceeds thereof in conformity with this section, (f) the names and addresses of surviving joint owners of property with the deceased, known to the petitioner, (g) the names and addresses known to the petitioner of the persons who would take under the provisions of part 1 of article II of this chapter in the case of intestacy, and (h) the names and addresses known to the petitioner of the persons who would take under the provisions of the will, if any. The original of any will shall be filed with the above statement.
Upon presentation of such statement, accompanied by a certificate of the death of the deceased by a public officer and payment of a fee as may be specified in section 40 of chapter 262 , the register shall docket these documents as a part of the permanent records of the court. Upon payment of a fee as prescribed in said section 40 of chapter 262 , the register shall, if no other probate proceeding for administration of such estate is pending in said court, issue an attested copy of a statement duly filed under this section.
Notwithstanding any general or special or law to the contrary, a voluntary personal representative shall certify on the statement that copies of such statement and death certificate have been sent to the division of medical assistance by certified mail. If the decedent received medical assistance under chapter 118E (1) when age 65 or older or (2) at any time on or after March 22, 1991, regardless of age, while an inpatient in a nursing facility or other medical institution, the provisions of section 32 of said chapter 118E shall apply except (1) the period for said department to present a claim under subsection (b)(1) of said section 32 of said chapter 118E shall be within 4 months of the date the register dockets the statement and (2) interest on allowed claims under subsection (c) of said section 32 of said chapter 118E shall commence 4 months plus 60 days after said date. This paragraph shall apply to estates of decedents dying on or after September 1, 1992.
Upon the presentation of a copy of such a statement duly attested by the register, the tender of a proper receipt in writing and the surrender of any policy, passbook, note, certificate or other evidentiary instrument, a voluntary personal representative may, as the legal representative of the deceased and his estate, receive payment of any debt or obligation in the nature of a debt, or delivery of any chattel or asset, scheduled in such statement. Payments and deliveries made under this section shall discharge liability of the debtor, obligor or deliverer to all persons with respect to such debt, chattel, obligation or other asset unless, at the time of such payment or delivery, a written demand has been made upon said debtor, obligor or deliverer by a duly appointed personal representative.
A voluntary personal representative may sell any chattel so received and negotiate or assign any chose in action to convert the same to cash in a reasonable amount.
A voluntary personal representative shall, as far as possible out of the assets which come into his hands, first discharge the necessary expenses of the funeral and last sickness of the deceased and the necessary expenses of administration without fee for his services, and then pay the debts of the deceased in the order specified in section 3-805 and any other debts of the estate, and then distribute the balance, if any, in accordance with part 1 of article II of this chapter.
A voluntary personal representative shall be liable as a personal representative in his own wrong to all persons aggrieved by his administration of the estate, and, if letters testamentary or letters of administration are at any time granted, shall be liable as such a personal representative to the rightful personal representative.
For the purpose of paragraph (6) of section 113A of chapter 175 and section 2 of chapter 90 , a voluntary personal representative shall be deemed to be the personal representative of the estate of the decedent until a personal representative is appointed.
Upon payment of the proper fee, the register may issue a certificate of appointment to such voluntary personal representative, with a copy of the statement annexed thereto.
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