Probate and Estate Administration

Our attorneys can help you with probate and estate administration – a process that can daunting and costly, particularly if there is no will.

What is Probate?
Probate is the process of the court examining a person’s will after death, declaring it valid, and appointing an executor to administer the estate according to the terms of the will. If someone has died without a will in place, the distribution of his or her assets is decided through estate administration. Depending on the situation, the probate and estate administration process may take many months and can be unnecessarily expensive.
Read about creating trusts to avoid the costs of probate

Sometimes the attorney and executor will encounter problems during the administration of the estate. A will may have been lost or destroyed, or multiple wills may have been presented for probate. Perhaps the will was changed without being signed by the decedent or a family member believes a will contest is necessary. Our experienced estate planning and administration attorneys have handled all of these issues effectively.

What Does the Executor Do?
The person named as executor of an estate is solely responsible for settling and distributing the estate according to the terms of the decedent’s Last Will and Testament. He or she will be issued a Certificate of Appointment from the court, collect all of the decedent’s assets, pay the decedent’s debts, and distribute the rest of the estate. The executor is also responsible for paying expenses such as taxes, medical bills and funeral costs, and with the help of a professional advisor, for determining whether final federal or state income tax returns must be filed.

What is the Final Accounting Process?
The executor’s responsibilities are not over until they have accounted for the receipt of assets in the decedent’s name alone at the time of death, debts, funeral and administration expenses and taxes, distributions to beneficiaries, any remaining expenses, and the balance to be distributed after all payments have been made. The executor must show receipts of income, expenses and taxes paid from this amount, and the balance to be distributed. How complex the accounting process will be varies with the estate.

How Does the Court Decide Who Receives My Property?
If you created a Last Will & Testament, the court already knows how to distribute your property. However, if you never created a will, the Probate Court will inventory all property and determine who will inherit it. Massachusetts law specifies how certain property and assets should be distributed without a will in place.

Our experienced estate planning attorneys can help you understand these laws and the process of probate and estate administration.

Massachusetts Probate & Administration Lawyers

Law Offices conveniently located on the South Shore in Hanover and Quincy, MA serving Boston and Eastern Massachusetts