Probate Lawyers in Massachusetts
After losing a loved one, the last thing you should have to worry about is the bureaucracy of the probate process to settle their estate. Our legal team at Casey Lundregan Burns, P.C., can support you in this difficult time. Call us at (978) 878-3519 to speak with a Massachusetts probate lawyer.
What Is Probate?
Probate is a legal proceeding in which a special probate court distributes a deceased person’s estate after death. The main purpose of probate is to prevent fraud by settling estates under court supervision.
During probate, the court will analyze the decedent’s will to determine whether it is valid. A personal representative, who may be named in the will or appointed by the court, will then:
- Draw up a list of all probate assets and their value
- Pay any credits, bills, and inheritance taxes
- Distribute the assets to the heirs or beneficiaries according to the terms of the will
If the court finds that the will isn’t valid, it will appoint a personal representative who will distribute the assets under Massachusetts intestate laws.
Not All Assets Go Through Probate
Probate isn’t confidential. The proceedings become part of the public record, so anyone will be able to learn details about your family assets. Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, probate can also be costly and time-consuming. Closing an estate in probate can take anywhere between a few weeks and a few years in particularly complicated or disputed cases.
The good news is that with proper and timely estate planning, some assets can avoid probate and pass directly to your beneficiaries or heirs. Non-probate assets include:
- Assets placed in a trust
- Real property held in joint tenancy
- Community property with right of survivorship
- Retirement accounts with named beneficiaries
- Life insurance policies with named beneficiaries
Additionally, Massachusetts law mandates a simpler procedure called small estate or simplified probate for estates with a total value of under $15,000.
How a Probate Lawyer in Massachusetts Can Help
Probate in Massachusetts is complicated. The personal representative must collect, manage, and distribute the estate assets while complying with various legal requirements and deadlines and filing multiple documents. Depending on the type and size of the estate and other factors, there are also different forms of probate, each with its own rules.
By hiring an experienced probate lawyer to handle the estate administration process, you won’t have to worry about legalities after the death of your loved one.
Another benefit of retaining legal counsel is that you will have someone fighting for your interests in the event of disputes such as creditor claims, family conflicts, or probate litigation. Wills aren’t always clear or complete, which can lead to ambiguities and arguments. Likewise, relatives don’t always agree on the terms of the deceased’s will.
Talk to a Massachusetts Probate Attorney Today
At Casey Lundregan Burns, P.C., we have more than 90 years of experience in probate administration and litigation. We serve clients in Salem, MA, and all of Massachusetts. Call (978) 878-3519 to schedule a consultation with an experienced probate lawyer from our team.