•   Email
  •   Print
Massachusetts Agencies

Contracts of the Deceased


Citing but one authority[1] for the proposition, Belknap, Newhall's Settlement of Estates and Fiduciary Law in Massachusetts, Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Company (Fifth Edition, 1994), §11.9 states that where real estate is due to be conveyed to a person at the time of his death, the right to compel the performance goes to the executor or administrator.

Conversely, the foregoing treatise states in §12.11 that specific performance can be enforced against an executor or administrator if the deceased during his lifetime had entered into a written agreement for the conveyance of any individually owned property. "In such cases the probate court has jurisdiction in equity concurrent with the Supreme Judicial Court and Superior Courts, upon petition by any person interested in the conveyance, and after notice, if upon hearing it appears that the decedent, if living, would be required to make the conveyance, to order the executor or administrator to make the same, with the same effect as if the decedent had made it. * * * [T]he exercise of jurisdiction under the statute is subject to the ordinary rules of equity governing the validity of agreements relative to the sale of real estate." See Howe v. Watson, 179 Mass. 30, 60 N.E. 415 (1901); Pead v. Trull, 173 Mass. 450, 53 N.E. 901 (1899); Lynes v. Hayden, 119 Mass. 482 (1876); Grace v. Dennison, 114 Mass. 16 (1873).

1 Hodges v. Saunders, 34 Mass. 470 (1835).