Probate is the legal process that takes place through the court after a person dies. The purpose of probate is to give someone the authority to administer a decedent’s estate, collect decedent’s assets, pay any outstanding debts and taxes, and transfer any remaining assets according to the decedent’s Will, or, if there is no Will, according to Massachusetts laws of intestacy. The person who is granted the authority to manage a decedent’s estate is called the “Personal Representative” who may be named in the decedent’s Will, appointed by the court, or has priority to be appointed because of his/her relation to the decedent.
If someone passes away, one of the first things that you will want to do is determine if he/she had a Will. If there is a Will, it must be filed with the Probate and Family Court in the county in which the decedent resided to determine its validity. If all of the proper legal steps are taken, and no one objects to the appointment of the proposed Personal Representative, the court will issue a document granting authority to administer the estate. In other cases, such as where there is dispute among the decedent’s heirs at law, the case becomes more complicated and must be scheduled for a hearing in front a judge.
We are not immune to the fact that the death of a loved one is extremely difficult, and we realize that having to deal with his or her estate during such an emotional time can be very overwhelming. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the legal process with as little frustration as possible.