Following a person’s death, legal matters must be handled with the probate court. The proper court paperwork must be filed with the correct court. This includes filing the last will and testament which the deceased person left behind so that the will can be probated.
You need to know how probate works, what is involved in filing with the probate court, and who is in charge of filing the will.
An experienced Worcester probate lawyer can provide you with help during all of the steps of the probate process. Give us a call to find out more about how we can assist with filing the will and taking care of the other essential steps involved in the probate process.
Who Files a Will with the Probate Court?
If the deceased had assets valued at $25,000 or less, including the value of a car, then voluntary administration is the procedure for transferring assets in Massachusetts. In other situations, probate is the procedure for the transfer of assets. Probate begins when a pleading is filed with the probate court. You must submit a petition for formal or informal probate of a will.
The person who should file the will, or file the pleading, depends upon the situation. If the deceased person had a lawyer who helped to create a will, the attorney should have the original or a copy and can file the will. If the deceased named an executor, the executor can file the will. If there was no executor named but a will was created, a close family member like a spouse should file the will. When the will is filed, someone will be appointed to act as a personal representative.
The Massachusetts court system website explains that the general rule is that an estate has to be probated within three years of the death. However, to make sure heirs inherit in a timely manner and to get assets transferred to new owners so the executor or personal representative is not left to manage them for a long time, it is best to file for probate as quickly as possible.
When a pleading is filed, fees must be paid. The fee to file a formal probate is $375 as of 2016. When a new case is filed, a docket number has to be assigned. There is a $15 fee to assign the docket number. For a formal probate, there is also a $15.00 required citation fee. The fee to file an informal probate is also $375 and a $15 charge to assign a docket number. However, since no citation fee is required, the total cost is lower. The total cost is $390.00 for filing an informal probate and $405 for filing a formal probate.
The fee for voluntary administration for smaller estates is less. The fee in this case is just $115: $100 for the filing of the Voluntary Administration settlement and a $15 surcharge for the docket number.
Should You Get Legal Help With Probate?
The probate process can b a complicated one, especially if you are an executor or are appointed a personal representative. Knowing when and how to file for probate and file a will is just the start of what must go on during probate. It is your responsibility to follow the deceased person’s instructions and to follow Massachusetts laws on probate so you can fulfill your requirements. An attorney can help throughout the process so you understand your responsibilities and complete the appropriate and necessary steps to transfer assets to their new owners.
You should also consider hiring an attorney in situations where you are going to inherit under a will, or when you believe a will should be contested. Your lawyer can help you to monitor the probate process and protect your inheritance if you are going to be receiving money and property. If you want to contest the will and argue it is not valid, your attorney will also assist you with this process.
How Can a Worcester Probate Court Lawyer Help You?
A Worcester probate court lawyer can provide you with advice on who should file a will with the probate court. We can also provide assistance dealing with all of the legal steps that must be taken during probate. Whether you are an executor or a beneficiary, our legal team can represent you and help you to make sure that the probate process goes smoothly and that your rights are protected.
To find out more about probate in Massachusetts, join us for a free seminar . You can also give us a call at 508-799-8885 or contact us online to speak with a knowledgable and caring probate lawyer who can provide the guidance and advice you ned throughout the entire probate process.