Essex County and Middlesex County Estate Administration Attorney
Estate Administration, also referred to as Probate, is the process of transferring assets following a death. This is done in one of two ways, where the decedent had a Will, termed a testate administration, or in the event a Will doesn’t exist, under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, termed an intestate administration. In either event, an attorney familiar with the Court system is paramount.
But Everyone Says Probate is Terrible!
There is a great misconception that one should avoid probate at all costs. However, it is seldom avoidable. If someone living in Middlesex County at the time of their death held assets individually, and free of a trust, the Middlesex County Probate and Family Court will need to be involved in order to transfer those assets. Without the Probate Court, a Will isn’t more than a piece of expensive paper. Your Will instructs the Court, and your appointed personal representative, as to who should receive your assets. Without a Will, your assets are distributed based on state law, but still through the Probate Court. The Will can sometimes ease this process, but not avoid it. The only way to avoid the process is to not have a Probate Estate.
What is a Probate Estate?
Assets can pass as a matter of law or through the probate process. If an asset is owned by you and another person, referred to as a joint tenants, or the asset has been identified as passing to someone else following your death, referred to as a beneficiary, then the asset will pass as a matter of law. Otherwise, it will pass as part of the Probate Estate. The only exception to this rule is if an asset is titled for convenience only. An example of this is when a parent and child hold a bank account together so that the child can provide assistance to the parent. Even though the account as a matter of law would pass to the child, the parent requested that all assets be distributed equally to all children; therefore, the asset will pass through Probate in order to be distributed as desired.
How Long Will This Take?
The Estate Administration process begins with the appointment of a personal representative. Generally, the family of the decedent meets with Attorney Snell and reviews the Will, if there is one. An approach is selected that complies with the newly established Uniform Probate Laws and the required paperwork is completed and filed. Some Courts require more time than others to process the paperwork. For example, documents filed with the Essex County Probate and Family Court can sometimes be acted on in the same day. The process ends with the allowance of an accounting to the Court. In between depends largely on the value of the estate and the complexity of the assets that comprise the estate. In all, an uncomplicated estate will take slightly longer than one year to administer.
Contact The Law Office Of Brian C. Snell
To schedule an initial consultation with an experienced Marblehead Estate Administration and Probate Attorney, fill out our intake form or call the Law Office Of Brian C. Snell at 781-942-4600. We look forward to working with you.