The loss of a family member is one of the most difficult things we can encounter.
When a loved one passes away, their estate may need to be settled in a court process called probate.
During probate, a personal representative handles administration of the estate. The personal representative is responsible for communicating with heirs, paying outstanding debts and taxes, and then distributing what is left to the beneficiaries.
While this sounds straightforward, it rarely goes as planned. Administering a loved one’s estate often involves disputes between beneficiaries. The Massachusetts probate process is also known for expensive delays, conflict, and bureaucracy.
In Massachusetts, probate usually takes a year at minimum since creditors have one year from the date of the decedent’s death to file claims against the estate. More complex estates will take longer, and can get tied up in probate court for many years.
Probate is a lengthy, exhausting, stressful, and expensive process.
Probate expenses include court filing fees, notification fees, and fees of the executor and attorney. The average cost to probate an estate is around 5% of the estate’s value and takes a minimum of one year to settle.
For those reasons, our experienced Estate Planning Attorneys recommend creating a trust-based estate plan that meets your goals and avoids probate entirely. That way, your heirs can receive their inheritances much quicker and with far less cost.
If it’s too late for planning that would avoid probate, we can still help guide you through this difficult time. Our experienced probate attorneys walk alongside you through the probate court process including:
If you are asked to be a trustee, you should fully understand and know of your responsibilities. If the trust assets are improperly accounted for, you can be held personally liable.
Unfortunately, more often than not, families fight over who gets what and whether all laws have been followed. These fights can result in litigation, expensive lawyer fees, and devastating financial consequences for heirs and the trustee.
With the help of our experienced trust administration attorneys, we can resolve these issues efficiently and amicably. We can guide you through the process if you decide to serve, or recommend the appropriate person to serve on your behalf.
It’s never too late to protect your life’s work. When we sit down with you, we discuss your goals and look into the future to develop a complete plan that protects you for generations to come.
If you or an aging loved one have been putting off making a plan, take action now while you are alive and well, before your family is left behind to suffer the consequences.
At Patrick J. Kelleher & Associates, P.C., we assist seniors and their families in making the tough but necessary decisions regarding their wishes, goals, and being mindful of future long-term care needs.
We would be honored to help you and your loved ones. Click here to get started.