Estate & Probate Administration
When someone dies, the grieving surviving spouse and family members are responsible for handling the final administration of the estate. This includes disposition of the decedent’s assets to heirs and beneficiaries, dealing with creditors, and payment of taxes. The estate administration process can be a complicated and confusing process for people unfamiliar with the law.
Our office has extensive experience handling the administration of estates, and offers comprehensive estate administration services to handle all aspects of the estate to include all filings with the probate court, any necessary tax filings and to handle any real estate transaction arising from the estate.
Please contact us today at 781-599-4014 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.
Testate Vs. Intestate
When a decedent dies with a valid will, they are said to have died testate. The decedent’s probate assets will be distributed according to the terms of his or her will. A will does not take legal effect until the will is allowed by the relevant probate court. In other words, the will must go through filings with the probate court to become effective. We can assist you with these filings to have the will allowed by the court.
When a decedent dies without a will, they are said to have died intestate. The decedent’s probate assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy in the state of Massachusetts.
Appointment Of Personal Representative
One of the most important steps in the estate administration process is the Appointment of a Personal Representative.
Whether you are a personal representative (executor) named in a will, or wish to be appointed personal representative of someone who died intestate, it is important to note that there is no formal authority until the court issues a certified appointment of personal representative. This requires the filing of several documents in the probate court of the country in which the decedent was domiciled.
Our office can assist with all necessary filings to get you properly appointed so that you can assume your role as personal representative.
Probate Assets Vs. Non-Probate Assets
Probate assets are those assets that must be probated through judicial process in the probate court in order for those assets to pass to beneficiaries.
Non-probate assets are outside the jurisdiction of the probate court. Non-probate assets include assets that the decedent owned jointly with rights of survivorship with another individual, such as owning a home jointly with a surviving spouse. Additionally, life insurance benefits and retirement accounts are non-probate assets, as long as a beneficiary is listed. If the decedent owned one of these types of assets but failed to list a beneficiary or if the beneficiary is deceased, then the asset is a probate asset and must pass through the probate process.
It is important to note that even though assets are non-probate assets, they can still be considered assets of the decedent’s estate, and subject to estate taxes both at the federal and state level. Also, whether someone was testate or intestate does not affect the determination of whether assets are probate assets or non-probate assets.
Our experienced attorneys can prepare all necessary tax filings for the estate.
Transfer of Real Property
A decedent often passes away while owning a home or condominium that will need to be sold as part of the estate administration process. Our office has extensive experience with handling all aspect of these estate sales.
Most creditors have only a certain period following the decedent’s death to assert a valid claim against the estate. Our office can assist the personal representative with dealing with claims of creditors against the estate, who often fail to perfect their claim against the estate and therefore have no right of collection.
Professional Personal Representative or Trustee
Additionally, there may be times when you are planning your estate and you wish for a professional, rather than a family member, to serve as the Personal Representative of your Estate, or the Trustee of your Trust. The attorneys at our office have experience serving in these fiduciary roles.