Probate is the actual process by which legal title of property is transferred from the decedent’s estate to his/her beneficiaries. Probate proceedings may occur if a person dies with a Will and probate proceedings may occur if a person dies without a Will.
Essentially, there are two types of probate administration in Massachusetts:
- The first type of probate administration involves a probate estate where there is a Will. In this case a person’s probate assets will pass according to the directions set forth in the will.
- The second type of probate administration is for people who die without drafting wills. This form of estate administration is called “in testate”. In this case, a person’s probate estate will be distributed according to state statute. This means the state decides the parties who receive a distribution of your estate. In some in testate cases the state itself will receive some or all of your estate.
In both cases the probate court in Massachusetts oversees the distribution process. As a first priority, an experienced probate lawyer will (or should) officially secure your executor appointment with the court. Next he/she will assist you with the following:
- Analyze your current personal probate situation and/or obligations;
- Help you inventory all property of the decedent;
- Determine the heirs-at-law and next of kin of the decedent;
- Prepare estate and income tax returns for you;
- Pay the expenses of estate administration;
- Distribute the assets to the proper person’s;
- File all required pleadings and motions to begin and complete the Probate process.
I do hope you will use me as a resource if you have questions about any of this.