Woburn Probate Lawyer
The Heritage Law Center helps individuals and families navigate probate administration in Middlesex and Essex counties in Massachusetts. Beyond having outstanding credentials and extensive probate knowledge and experience, our team is committed to providing compassionate guidance.
We know how difficult it is to deal with the emotional distress following the death of a loved one. We also know that sometimes it’s the logistical matters—like probate—that put the situation over the top for the grieving family. Our goal is to take care of all legal matters surrounding the death and to support you going forward.
What Exactly Is Probate Law?
Probate is the court-supervised procedure during which a will is validated so that the assets of the deceased can be distributed as the will directs. If the deceased died intestate (without a will), assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy. Probate court also verifies who the personal representative (“executor”) will be as stated in the will or, if there’s no will, the court will appoint a personal representative (also known as an “administrator”). The purpose of probate law is to prevent fraud after someone’s death and also to give creditors an opportunity to make claims against the estate.
In Massachusetts, probate typically takes about 12-18 months to allow time for creditors to make claims. The process takes longer if there is any argument about asset distribution or if the will is contested. Probate expenses include executor’s fees, attorney’s fees, accounting fees, court fees, appraisal costs, and surety bonds.
What Assets Go Through Probate?
Assets that must go through probate court are those that are owned only by the decedent (person who passed away). These assets include the following:
- Any real property that’s solely held in the deceased person’s name or held as tenant in common (in this case, the decedent’s share passes to their heirs or as outlined by their will)
- Personal property like furniture, family heirlooms, and cars (as long as only the deceased person’s name is on the car’s title)
- Bank accounts that are held only in the decedent’s name
- Life insurance policies and brokerage accounts that list the deceased person only or the estate as the beneficiary
Can Probate Be Avoided?
When someone is creating a new estate plan, it’s possible to do it in a way that avoids the cost and time of probate, making it easier for the loved ones left behind. Discover how you can avoid probate.
Work with an Experienced Probate Attorney
Probate can be a complicated and time-consuming process. If you’re a personal representative, you’ll likely find that there’s a lot to learn and a lot to do to get the estate you represent through the probate process. And you’re expected to be at the top of your game at a time when you’re also struggling with the grief of losing a loved one. We can lighten that burden of probate for you by leading you through the process and taking many of the tasks off your plate. Contact our law firm for a free consultation on legal help with probate or Massachusetts estate planning.