Section Review

Section Review runs practice area-specific articles as part of the MBA's bi-monthly Lawyers Journal.

Issue Vol. 12 No. 2

January 2010

"Probate litigation" can be a misnomer

A common perception is that all "probate litigation" is heard in the probate court, but a recent superior court decision reminds us of the importance of distinguishing lore from the law.

It is not true that any action involving a trust or an estate must be brought in the probate court. In fact, the exclusive jurisdiction of the probate court is somewhat limited. Many trust and estate disputes can be filed in either the probate court, the superior court, the Supreme Judicial Court, or even federal district court. There may be advantages and disadvantages in bringing a trust or estate action in each of the courts. When choosing the proper court, a practitioner should be mindful of these considerations and make an informed decision that maximizes the chances of success.