The thought of death is something that most people don't welcome. All too often, people put off estate planning until it is too late, sometimes leading to unfortunate results. I try to make this process as easy as possible for my clients. I meet with clients to understand their concerns, including any problem areas with their heirs, and work out an estate plan that best meets their needs. Sometimes a will can suffice, other times a trust or trusts are appropriate or a trust and will. And when that unfortunate time comes, I can work with their personal representative to probate the will or administer a trust. With the enactment of the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code, the probate process does not have to be complicated or expensive.
With proper planning, probate court proceedings sometimes can be avoided or minimized. Usually, probate is required only if the deceased person owned assets in his or her name alone. Assets that do not go through probate include:
- assets the deceased person owned as a joint tenant with others, which pass automatically to the surviving owner(s)
- assets the deceased person owned as ""husband and wife, tenants by the entirety" which pass automatically to the surviving spouse
- financial assets such as a life insurance policy, bank account, investment accounts, etc., where a beneficiary has been named outside of the will
- assets held in a trust
If you do not currently have a will or wish to review your situation, feel free to call my office so we can address your concerns.
If you are named as Executor or Personal Representative in a will, or, if you are an heir of someone who passed without a will, then you may have questions about how to proceed in administering the decedent's estate. The Mass. Uniform Probate Code directs how the process should be handled. If you have any questions, feel free to contact my office.