October 21, 2017

Estate Administration

Estate Administration generally refers to the process of submitting a will to the Probate Court (where there is one), having a fiduciary appointed for the estate, collecting all assets of the estate, paying all appropriate debts of the estate, determining, preparing and submitting appropriate income and estate tax and real estate filings, distribution of assets in accordance with the will or the laws of intestacy and closing the estate.  This process will take at least one year.

Massachusetts recently enacted the Uniform Probate Code, which makes sweeping changes in the administration of estates, effective Jan. 2, 2012.

 It is important to understand each heir’s rights in the estate, and the proper way for the estate representative to file, give notice to interested persons, and obtain authorization to act in behalf of the estate. We prepare and file forms, give required notice, obtain property appraisals, draft inventories and accounts, ensure compliance with tax filings, assist with selling and disposing of estate property, and guide the representative in settlement and approval of final accountings for the estate. We have access to experts in art, furnishings, antiques and real estate values, realtors, tax accountants, surveyors, engineers and other professionals needed to get the work done correctly.

The estate will be governed by the decedent’s will, or if there is no will, by the Massachusetts laws of intestacy. Under the Probate Code, rights to notice and to inherit property have changed. The laws regarding how an estate will be opened and closed have changed. These changes to the law are a trap for the unwary and may cause many problems for those handling a probate on their own, or being guided by an attorney without experience in this area.

Our estate planning attorneys were recruited to assist the courts in educating attorneys and paralegals around Massachusetts about how the new Probate Code will affect estate administration.

Estate administration is a complex and detailed process. Our estate administration attorneys and staff are experienced and proficient in handling estate matters. We invite and listen to your questions, and we explain each step to ensure that you understand and are comfortable with how the administration is proceeding. Please contact us by phone or email with your questions.