Massachusetts probate is a process by which assets transfer to new owners after a death. The process involves going to probate court, and it can be a complicated one. It is largely overseen by an executor, who is named in the deceased person’s will.
If you have been named the executor of an estate, you need to be aware of what your responsibilities are and of how the probate process works. A Massachusetts probate lawyer can provide you with assistance about the probate process and can explain the key things you need to be aware of.
The Law Offices of James A. Miller, P.C. has a long track record of representing executors during the probate process. We make it easy for you to fulfill your responsibilities and to honor the memory of the deceased by ensuring that his or her wishes are respected. Give us a call as soon as you discover that you have been named the executor in someone’s will so you can find out more about what your options are.
Key Facts About Massachusetts Probate
Some of the key facts you need to know about Massachusetts probate if you are named as an executor in a will include:
- Probate must take place in the county where the deceased resided at death. There is a probate court in Worcester, which is located at 225 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01608. If the deceased owned property in multiple different locations, there are times when probate is necessary in different jurisdictions.
- An executor is responsible for filing court paperwork and overseeing the probate process. If the deceased has named you executor, you have many different obligations to fulfill.
- You can decline to serve as executor. If you do this, the court will appoint a personal representative to fulfill the role you would have fulfilled. Many people do not decline because they wish to honor the wishes of the deceased. An attorney can guide you through the probate process and help you to make sure you can easily fulfill your duties as an executor.
- You have an obligation to manage the assets of the deceased. If you accept your role as an executor, you not only have to handle court paperwork but you also need to make sure you take care of the property the deceased person has left behind. This can mean paying bills to protect the value of an estate, and also doing other tasks to protect investments.
- As an executor, you have a legal duty. You are considered a fiduciary and must act in the best interests of the deceased and the heirs. If you improperly take money or property from the state or otherwise fail to live up to your duties, heirs can take legal action against you.
- You need to provide notice to creditors and potential heirs. During the probate process, you need to notify interested parties of the death which has occurred. If creditors make claims on the estate, you must determine if the claims are valid and if they should be paid out of the funds of the estate.
- You may need to defend the will. There are times when people contest the validity of a last will and testament. If you are serving as an executor when the validity of a will is challenged, you generally have the responsibility of defending the will and arguing it is legally valid and should be considered enforceable. The strength of the arguments made in defense of the will can decide whether the will is actually enforced and the deceased person’s last wishes are respected when it comes to distribution of assets.
The Law Offices of James A. Miller, P.C. aims to make it as easy as possible for you to fulfill your obligations when serving as an executor. We will be there at every step of the probate process, providing advice and guidance and taking care of legal processes for you.
How a Massachusetts Probate Lawyer Can Help
Executors are not the only ones who can get help during the probate process. The Law Offices of James A. Miller, P.C. is here to help anyone who has a legal interest in the probate process. This means that we can represent you whether you are an heir, a relative concerned about the validity of the will, an executor or a personal representative.
To learn more about how probate works in Massachusetts or about what a Massachusetts probate lawyer can do for you, give us a call today at 508-799-8885 or contact us online.