Call Now: (781) 606-9002

Expert Legal Help With Probate Proceedings in Massachusetts

Probate is a legal process that may take place after the death of an individual. It allows beneficiaries to manage the decedent’s estate including accessing assets, paying debts, and transferring any remaining property.

Time Frame for Probate in Massachusetts

In the state of Massachusetts, probate can take up to a year. This is because creditors have one year to bring any claims against the estate of a deceased. The probate process can take longer if there are complicating factors or disputes over the will.

When Is Probate Necessary?

Probate is not always necessary when someone passes away. It depends on their assets and debts. For example, distribution of life insurance proceeds does not require probate. The beneficiary for such policies is normally pretty clear. Other situations require probate to facilitate the transfer of assets. For example, if a deceased owned real estate, the probate process is necessary to transfer ownership.

Types of Probate Proceedings

There are two types of probate procedures in Massachusetts:

Informal Probate

Informal procedures are often used when:

  1. The decedent died domiciled in Massachusetts;
  2. Not more than three (3) years have passed from the date of the decedent’s death;
  3. No court has appointed an executor of the estate and no appointment proceedings are pending;
  4. No interested person objects to the informal petition; and
  5. If there is a will, it does not specifically request a formal administration.

The informal procedure takes place without a judge. After paperwork is filed, no additional steps are necessary unless someone files a petition. All individuals with an interest in the estate must be notified in that case.

Formal Probate

Formal Probate proceedings may take place if:

  1. It has been less than 3 years since the decedent’s death;
  2. There is a petition to contest the appointment of an informal personal representative (within 1 year of that person’s appointment); or
  3. There are issues requiring formal administration, such as matters including minors lacking legal guardians.

Formal probate proceedings do not necessarily require a court hearing with a judge. A Court Magistrate can actually approve it if there are no issues that need to be resolved.

Distributing Property and Closing the Estate

The executor of a Massachusetts estate can distribute assets to heirs after any debts and taxes are paid. He/she must follow instructions outlined in the will or as determined by state law. Unless the probate is formal and court-supervised, this process takes place informally. The executor must simply file a statement confirming that creditors have been satisfied (or that the one year timeframe has lapsed), the remaining assets have been distributed, and written details have been sent to all parties involved.

Attorney Representation for Probate Hearings

You have the option for attorney representation for MA probate hearings. Martino Law Group is located in Melrose MA and services all of Eastern Massachusetts. We understand the probate process and can guide you through each step and hearing.

Get In Touch Now

Massachusetts Probate and Estate Planning Blog

Estate Planning

Reasons to Create an Estate Plan

Estate plans are something that everyone would technically benefit from, but many simply put off or believe to be non-essential. There are a few circumstances …

Read More →
Estate Planning

Responsibilities of an Estate Executor in Massachusetts

Estate executors, known in Massachusetts as Personal Representatives, must manage different types of tasks. Understanding what some of those are can help you select someone …

Read More →
Estate Planning

Increase in Estate Planning Amid Coronavirus

Most attorneys are reporting an increase in estate planning activity amid the Coronavirus pandemic. With so many people sick and dying, it’s only natural that …

Read More →
Estate Planning

Estate Planning Thoughts Amid Coronavirus Fears

Coronavirus fears and the sudden need to self-quarantine provides time for some self reflection. For many, it’s an eye-opening experience on just how unprepared we …

Read More →

Importance of Pour-Over Wills in Trust-Based Estate Plans

Trusts are a common estate planning tool to avoid a lengthy probate process. Assets must be specifically placed into a trust. What happens when there …

Read More →
Estate Planning

5 Estate Planning Tasks to Complete While on Self Quarantine for Coronavirus

Coronavirus fears have left many stuck at home, looking for ways to remain active and productive. It can be an opportune time to get things …

Read More →