Probate and Estate Administration
Probate and Estate Administration is the process by which a person’s debts are paid and the remaining assets distributed upon their death. In its most basic terms, probate is a legal process that takes place after someone dies in order to legally transfer probate assets to the beneficiaries designated in a will or to the heirs at law if no will exists. Individual state laws direct the probate process and they vary greatly. Consulting a firm with expertise in this area of the law is important to ensure that the deceased’s assets are distributed correctly. During the probate process, a personal representative, known as an executor in Massachusetts if named in a will, or an administrator if no will exists, will go through many tasks such as:
- Identifying and inventorying estate property attached spreadsheet
- Paying estate debts, expenses of administration and taxes
- Preparing estate tax returns if necessary
- Distributing property as directed by a will, or state law
- Accounting to the Probate court or beneficiaries for the collection and distribution of probate assets
Often several people are interested in the distribution of the probate estate: creditors, the surviving spouse, government taxing authorities, beneficiaries and the personal representative of the estate. Each person or entity may have a different interest in the probate and estate administration. Often other legal problems and issues occur. A challenge to the validity of a will, or to the size and types of debts included as obligations of the estate, may be made. Real estate may need to be sold to pay debts and expenses or as directed by a will. Trusts may need to be funded or split. We can handle these matters for you.
IRS Circular 230 Notice:To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding U.S. tax penalties.