The probate process Massachusetts involves taking different steps to resolve the issues that arise when someone has died. The specifics of what is involved will depend upon different factors, including whether the deceased left behind a will and the amount of assets transferring through probate. However, no matter what the probate process entails, those who are in charge of probate and those who stand to inherit need to know their legal rights.
The Law Offices of James A. Miller, P.C. provides legal representation during probate. We represent the executors or personal representatives who are in charge of filing paperwork to move through the probate process. We also represent beneficiaries and heirs to ensure their rights are protected and that they get the inheritance they should be entitled to receive. To find out more about the ways in which we can assist you, give us a call today to talk with a probate process Massachusetts lawyer.
What is Involved in the Probate Process Massachusetts?
The Administrative Office of the Probate and Family Court in Massachusetts has published a guide on estate administration procedure which explains what happens during probate.
During the probate process:
- Pleadings have to be filed with the court. A filing fee must be paid. The fee totals $405.00 inclusive of a docket fee and citation fee for formal probate. For informal probate, the fee as of 2016 is $390 according to the Massachusetts court system.
- A personal representative or executor is appointed. It is the job of the executor or personal representative to oversee the probate process. If the deceased named an executor in his will, that person will usually be in charge of the process, unless there is some problem like the executor choosing not to fulfill this role.
- Relatives and potential heirs and beneficiaries are notified of the death.
- Creditors are provided with notice of the death and given the chance to come forward with claims against the estate.
- An executor or personal representative makes an accounting of the deceased person’s assets. The value of assets must be calculated for purposes of probating the will and determining if estate taxes are due.
- Taxes, if required, are filed and paid.
- The validity of the will is determined.
- The formal asset transfer process takes place. This can sometimes include changing the title or deed of real property.
Depending upon the situation, there may also be additional steps taken by executors or personal representatives. It is the executor or personal representative who is in charge of managing and caring for the deceased person’s assets until the Massachusetts probate process is complete and the property transfers on to new owners.
How Can a Probate Lawyer Help with the Process
Executors and personal representatives have the most substantial responsibilities during probate and need to know exactly what their obligations are regarding filing with the court, providing required notice, and caring for the assets of the deceased. As a result, those who fulfill these responsibilities should get help from an experienced attorney throughout the entirety of the Massachusetts probate process.
Those who are going to inherit money may also wish to get legal help to make certain the executor is doing his job properly and their inheritances are protected. If you are going to be receiving a gift from the person who has passed away, an experienced attorney can help you to make sure that you understand the probate process and that your rights are respected throughout it.
Finally, you may wish to consider seeking legal advice if you believe that the will which is being probated is not actually a legally valid will. You can contest the will and try to convince the court not to probate it, but you need to make very good legal arguments if you hope to be successful. An experienced attorney can help you to understand how will contests work and can help you try to make a successful argument to contest the will.
Contact a Massachusetts Probate Process Lawyer Today
Whatever your role in the probate process Massachusetts, you do not want to have to go through the process alone. You need an experienced legal advocate on your side who can provide you with comprehensive advice and who can assist you with taking the necessary steps to protect an inheritance and honor the wishes of the person who passed away.
To find out more about probate, join us for a free seminar . You can also give us a call at 508-799-8885 or contact us online to speak with an experienced probate lawyer who can help you to understand all that the probate process will entail.