PROBATE ESTATES -- SPECIAL STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

See M.G.L. c. 197, Section 9 for the special statute of limitations relating to probate estates.  Subject to certain qualifications, the statute provides that an executor or administrator shall not be held to answer to an action of by a creditor which is not commenced within one year of the death of the deceased, unless notice of a claim is made within that time.  The bar of the statute is absolute and cannot be waived by the executor or administrator. However, there are five classes of claims which are not held to be within its scope:  (i) federal claims, (ii) claims for Massachusetts estate or income taxes, (iii) claims to enforce an equitable interest in certain specific estate assets, (iv) claims by an executor or administrator in his or her personal capacity, and (v) claims by a temporary executor or administrator for fiduciary fees. For a comprehensive discussion of cases relating to the special one-year statute of limitations, see Belknap, Newhall's Settlement of Estates and Fiduciary Law in Massachusetts, Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Company (Fifth Edition, 1994), §17:11-17.19.