RELEASE OF MASSACHUSETTS ESTATE TAX LIEN " RECENT AMENDMENT

(Chapter 147 of the Acts of 1998)

The Legislature has recently amended M.G.L. c. 65C and thereby altered the procedures for release of the Massachusetts Estate Tax Lien.  Prior to the amendment, the Massachusetts estate tax lien was released only after the estate had filed a state and, if necessary, a federal estate tax return, and the DOR issued a form M-792 releasing the lien on the decedent's realty. Subsequent to which, the M-792 was recorded in the appropriate Registry of Deeds.   A federal estate tax return was filed only if the decedent's gross estate exceed certain statutory limits specific to the decedent's date of death. However, if no federal return was required, and even if there was no Massachusetts Estate tax due, the DOR still required that a Massachusetts estate tax return be filed as evidence of compliance with the federal limits, and as a prerequisite to issuance of the M-792 certificate.

With the enactment of c. 147 of the Acts of 1998, the Legislature has provided a streamlined procedure for procuring a release of the Massachusetts estate tax lien.   Applicable only to dates of death after January 1, 1997, an executor may now simply record an affidavit "...stating that the gross estate of the decedent does not necessitate a federal estate tax filing..." M.G.L. c. 65C §14, the effect of which will be to "...release the gross estate of the lien imposed by this section..." Id.  Note also, that section 6 of chapter 65C includes within the meaning of "Executor", administrators and "...any person in actual or constructive possession of the estate..." M.G.L. c. 65C §6(a).