If you’ve been named the executor or administrator of a family member’s Massachusetts estate, you’ll have your hands full when they pass away.
Staying on top of the ever-changing details of Massachusetts probate laws isn’t something that most people have the time to deal with. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced Fall River, Massachusetts administration of estate attorney that can help you properly carry out the wishes of your deceased friend or relative. The Botelho Law Group provides comprehensive estate administration services. Call (888) 269-0688 to schedule a consultation.
Whether you’ve been appointed administrator in a will or by the court during an intestacy proceeding, there will be many responsibilities to handle from day one. These are the steps that are usually required for the administration of an uncontested will or intestate proceeding in Massachusetts:
- A notice of petition for probate is filed with the appropriate court;
- All possible heirs are notified about the probate proceedings and given the opportunity to contest the will or participate in the intestacy proceeding;
- An executor (now called a personal representative) is appointed;
- The personal representation prepares and inventory of the assets of the estate;
- Creditors of the estate are identified and notified;
- Estate tax and income tax returns are filed and
- The assets are distributed to heirs or beneficiaries based on the will or Massachusetts law.
All of these stages of the administration of an estate have tight deadlines and obligations attached. For example, if the value of assets is not clear, a personal representative must hire an appraiser during the inventory stage.
Intestate Succession in Massachusetts
When somebody dies without a will, their assets are distributed based on intestacy laws set forth by Massachusetts General Laws, Article II:
- 100% of the estate assets go to the surviving spouse absent descendants or surviving parents;
- If there’s a surviving parent, the spouse will receive the first $200,000, plus 3/4 of the remaining assets – the parent will receive the remainder;
- If there are surviving descendants, the spouse receives the first $100,000, plus 1/2 of the remaining balance;
- If there are children, and no spouse, the children receive everything.
- If there are parents, but no spouse, the parents inherit the total estate and
- If there are no descendants, spouse or parents, siblings inherit.
If there are no siblings, the estate will go to the next closest relatives and so on and so forth. When there are no relatives, the proceeds will go to the state of Massachusetts. Intestate succession can be a long drawn-out process, especially if relatives are difficult to ascertain or locate. It’s important to work with an experienced Fall River, Massachusetts administration of estate law firm that knows how to support you throughout the entire process.
Contested Estates in Massachusetts
The administration of an estate becomes much more complicated and lengthy when heirs and beneficiaries believe that there has been foul play that deprives them of what they’re entitled to. The most common grounds for contesting a will in Massachusetts are:
- Improper execution of the will, such as claiming it was not properly signed, notarized or witnessed;
- Undue influence, such as a new spouse that convinced the deceased to cut out his children;
- Testamentary capacity, such as the deceased having been diagnosed with later stage dementia, mental illness or was heavily medicated when signing the will and
- Fraud, such as forging the signature of the deceased or altering the will.
The administration of a contested will can extend the proceedings years beyond how long it would have taken if the will was not contested, making the job of being a personal representative long term. In such cases, it’s important to have the support of a top-notch Fall River, Massachusetts administration of estate attorney throughout the entire process.
Massachusetts and Rhode Island Administration of Estate Attorneys
If you’ve been appointed as a personal administrator for a will or intestate proceeding, you need the support of top-notch lawyers to guide you through the process. When loved ones die intestate or wills are contested, the proceedings can last for years, so it’s important to choose a law firm with the skills and know-how you need to help you manage the challenge. The Botelho Law Group is the most well-respected estate planning and estate administration firm in Fall River Massachusetts. 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