Probate of Massachusetts Estates

Our firm handles all aspects of probate and estate administration of MA estates. Probate is the process supervised by the probate court by which a deceased person’s property, known as the “estate,” is passed to his or her heirs and legatees (people named in the Will). The terms of the Will dictate how the individual’s debts are paid and assets are distributed upon death. If there is no Will, the Massachusetts intestate law will determine these matters. Massachusetts estate administration includes the probate process as well as non-probate transfers of the deceased’s assets. These non-probate assets can be contractual, such as life insurance, annuities, qualified plans, trust assets, or property owned jointly by the deceased and another person. Both probate and non-probate property are subject to the United States and Massachusetts estate tax.

David W. Lima assists the personal representative of the Massachusetts estate in the gathering, valuing, accounting and distributing of the decedent’s assets. The firm prepares federal and Massachusetts estate tax returns, as well as the appropriate documents in order to release liens on a decedent’s Massachusetts real estate. The entire process usually takes about a year. However, substantial distributions from the estate can be made in the interim.

The first step in the probate of a MA Will is the filing of a Petition with the probate court, along with the original Will and a certified copy of the death certificate. Notice must be mailed to all of the decedent’s heirs at law (usually the surviving spouse, children and children of any deceased children), to those named as beneficiaries in the Will, and, if a charity is involved or there are no heirs at law, to the Attorney General. Notice must be also published in a local newspaper selected by the court. If no one objects by a deadline set by the court, the executor named in the Will is appointed by the court. If there is no Will, a Petition for Administration is filed with a certified copy of the death certificate. The same process is followed to have an Administrator appointed.

The MA executor or MA administrator is responsible for collecting the probate property and for paying any debts of the Massachusetts estate. The executor must file with the probate court an itemized list of probate assets called an “inventory,” which includes the value of each item. The executor must file any necessary estate tax return within nine months of the date of death. There is a statute of limitations of one year for creditors to bring claims against the MA estate.

Executors generally wait until this claim period has expired to complete distribution of the estate according to the terms of the Will. If legitimate claims were presented in the twelve month period and the executor or administrator had distributed the assets of the estate, they would be personally liable for the claim. The executor or administrator files an accounting with the probate court showing the income and expenditures of the estate administration to conclude the case.

Attorney David W. Lima personally handles the probate of all Massachusetts estates. He is aided by an elite staff and state-of-the-art technology. Attorney Lima has more than twenty years experience with Massachusetts probate estate law. Call Attorney David W. Lima today for a free Massachusetts probate law consultation.

Attorney David W. Lima handles all probate of estates cases throughout Massachusetts including but not limited to the cities and towns of Ashburnham, Ashland, Athol, Barre, Berlin, Central Massachusetts, Metro West, Metrowest, Boylston, Clinton, Fitchburg, Framingham, Gardner, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hubbardston, Hudson, Lancaster, Leominster, Marlborough, Marlboro, Milford, Natick, Northborough, Northboro, Paxton, Shrewsbury, Southboro, Southborough Sudbury, Templeton, Upton, Wayland, Wellesley, West Boylston, Westborough, Westboro, Weston, Winchendon, and Worcester, Massachusetts.