If you’ve suffered the loss of a loved one in Massachusetts, you may be wondering what steps you should take to distribute their assets.
The probate process will be required if the person had a will or died intestate, unless they had an estate plan where all of their assets are in trust and/or accounts that transfer by operation of law. The probate process can be as short as week or last many years, depending on the size of the estate and the amount of family members. If there are disputes and/or somebody contests the will, it will significantly extend the timeline. It’s challenging enough to cope with the loss of a loved one, without also having to deal with complicated legal matters while you’re grieving. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced Massachusetts estate planning attorney to probate a will. The Botelho Law Group is the most well respected estate planning firm in Fall River, Massachusetts. Call (888) 269-0988 to schedule a free confidential consultation.
The probate process is similar throughout the country, but procedures and timetables can vary, so it’s important to be aware of the probate rules in Massachusetts, even if you’ve gone through the process elsewhere. These are the steps required to probate a will in Massachusetts:
- A petition for probate is filed, along with the will itself, in the county where the decedent resided before they died;
- The court will approve or appoint an executor, called a personal representative in Massachusetts, who will be responsible for carrying out duties on behalf of the estate;
- The personal representative will publish a notice in a local newspaper which will advise creditors to submit their claims to the estate;
- The personal representative will take an inventory of the estate’s assets, hiring an appraiser if necessary;
- The personal representative will make sure that the estate’s tax returns are filed, hiring an accountant if necessary;
- The personal representative will pay the taxes and debts of the estate;
- Once the taxes and other debts are paid, the probate is considered closed, and the personal representative can distribute the remaining assets of the estate to the named beneficiaries as specified in the will.
Being appointed a personal representative is a tremendous responsibility, as well as being time consuming and demanding. That’s why it’s important to hire an experience attorney to guide you through the process. The Botelho Law Group is the most well respected probate firm in Fall River Massachusetts. Call (888) 269-0988 to schedule a free confidential consultation.
Types of Probate in Massachusetts
There are options for probating a will in Massachusetts, depending on the size of the estate and other factors:
- Voluntary Administration is quick and easy, but it is only allowable when the total value of the estate, including the value of a vehicle, is less than $25,000. It can be commenced once thirty days have passed since the decedent’s death, whether there was a will or the decedent died intestate;
- Informal Probate is a streamlined procedure, handled by a magistrate rather than a judge, that’s available under the following conditions:
- The decedent died while living in Massachusetts;
- Three years or less have passed since the decedent died;
- An interested person has not objected to the informal proceeding and
- A will does not specify a formal administration.
- Formal Probate is required under the following conditions:
- The defendant died more than three years prior to the proceeding;
- The appointment of the informal personal representative is contested and
- There are issue that complicate the probate, such as minors without guardians.
This overview gives you some idea of the procedures available to probate a will in Massachusetts, but the best way to find out exactly what’s required in your case is to speak to an experienced Fall River, Massachusetts probate attorney. The Botelho Law Group is the top estate planning law firm in Fall River, Massachusetts. Call (888) 269-0988 to schedule a free confidential consultation.
Massachusetts and Rhode Island Probate Attorney
If your close relative has died, it’s important to speak to an experienced Fall River, Massachusetts probate attorney as soon as possible to discuss probate of their will. The Botelho Law Group has a team of attorneys that have successfully probated many wills, and can patiently answer your questions and address all of your concerns. Call (888) 269-0988 to schedule a free confidential consultation.
Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.
BOTELHO LAW GROUP
Attorneys At Law
901 Eastern Ave.
Fall River, MA 02723