“Probate” is the process of proving the validity of a will or determining your heirs if there is no will in a probate court. Administration of an estate includes managing the probate of an estate to ensure that final debts are paid and distribution is made to heirs who inherit under the will, or by law where there is no will. But administration is far more than that.
Some duties in the administration of an estate will involve payment of last income taxes, payment of estate tax (in Massachusetts for estates over $1M), clearing title to real estate, and determining which debts will be paid from which part of an estate, and which assets might flow into trusts. Many people try to avoid probate by opting out of signing a will. But even if you seek to avoid probate you should have a will.
Failure to have a will or a plan that allows your assets to pass to the loved ones you choose, will ensure that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will create one for you under its law of “intestacy.” This law is inflexible and may not distribute your estate the way want. Legal issues and problems often arise during probate and estate administration.
Some of the questions we have dealt with during over 30 years of experience are:
- Is my Dad’s old will, or newer will valid?
- How will I pay my spouse’s final debts?
- What will happen to the family farm or home?
- Mom gave us both title to the property before she died, which one of us gets the house?
- Dad divided the house into 6 shares, do we need permission from each person to sell the house?
We at Lannik Law are prepared to assist you through all variations of probate and estate administration with efficiency and compassion.