Probate is the court-involved process of administering the estate of a deceased individual who died with assets in his or her own name, without naming a beneficiary. This process may be necessary whether the decedent left a will or died without a will. Our attorneys can assist you in determining whether a court process is necessary and, if it is, guide you through the process.
If you have been nominated as the executor or personal representative in a will, the responsibilities can be overwhelming. For most people, serving as an executor or personal representative is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The processes and procedures are not always intuitive and are often confusing. To undertake these duties, it is important to work with experienced legal counsel.
At Stern, Keilty & Wall, LLC, our lawyers understand the emotional toll on surviving family members who have to deal with the probate process. In addition, we fully understand the various aspects of the probate process and are prepared to ensure that you meet your responsibilities as the executor or personal representative of the estate.
What To Expect In The Probate Process
If your loved one dies with a will, the first step will be to meet with one of our attorneys to be sure that the most appropriate and cost-effective court process is pursued. Our Salem probate administration attorneys will prepare the pleadings, and ensure accurate and timely filings with the probate court. Following the appointment of a personal representative of the estate, we work with him or her to marshal estate assets and debts, oversee the payment of debts, expenses and distribution to beneficiaries and, if necessary, prepare estate inventories and accounts for filing with and allowance by the court.
When an individual dies without a valid will and has assets subject to the probate process, his or her estate passes to heirs through intestate succession, in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Basically, this means the state determines who inherits from the deceased. This process can result in conflict and disputes within a family and can bring some surprising results for heirs. The law can be inflexible, and when disputes arise, the process can become lengthy and costly. If your loved one died without a will, we can assist you with the intestate probate process.
Contact Stern, Keilty & Wall, LLC
At Stern, Keilty & Wall, LLC, we offer a blend of estate planning, elder law, disability law, real estate law, and estate administration that provides support and counsel to clients along the continuum of lifetime planning.
We are located in historic Downtown Salem. Call 978-219-9932 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation. We offer evening and weekend appointments by request. We can also arrange off-site appointments for those unable to travel or in emergency situations.