Probate Administration
When a person dies, all property that does not pass directly to others (such as jointly owned property and life
insurance)
must be probated. This proceeding takes place under the jurisdiction and supervision of the probate
court where the deceased person, who is called the decedent, lived.

The purpose of the probate proceeding is to:

  • Collect the decedent's probate assets;

  • Protect and preserve the property of the estate;

  • Pay all debts and taxes;


  • Determine who is entitled to the decedent's assets and property, and distribute the property to those people;

  • In cases where the decedent left minor children, to appoint a person or people to be t
    he guardians of their children and of their property.

How Long does probate take?

Final settlement of a decedent's estate through probate can take up to two and a half years, meaning that the
decedent's assets and property may be frozen in probate for that length of time. The decedent's family may need
these assets to survive, but may have no access to them until the probate estate is settled.  If there are any disputes
over property or assets, guardianship of minor children, missing property, claims against the estate by creditors, or a
whole host of other issues that can crop up when probating an estate, the proceedings can drag on much longer.

Probating an estate in Massachusetts is complicated, time consuming and can require multiple court appearances .
Lynn has the experience and understanding of the underlying legal issues of probating an estate, from preparation
and filing of numerous documents with the probate court, to preserving the assets of the estate throughout the
lengthy process of the probate proceedings, as well as making numerous court appearances and preparing the tax
returns for the estate.

What happens if I die without a Will?

If you do not make out a Will, your probate property will be distributed according to the inflexible laws of
Massachusetts that govern the distribution of one's property. This further complicates the probate proceedings
creating expensive legal fees and delay of assets getting distributed to the rightful heirs. A properly drafted Will,
prepared by an experienced and knowledgable attorney like Lynn Morelli can eliminate or lessen court appearances
and overall court involvement when your estate goes through probate, directly reducing attorney's fees and court
costs.

A Will is the only legally valid document by which you can name a guardian to raise your minor children.  Without a
Will, your minor children become wards of the state until the court approves a guardian, which could be a long time
if no one volunteers, or if there are people competing to be the guardians.

Is there anything I can do to avoid probate?

Yes.  You can have Lynn prepare an estate plan that includes a Living Trust.  A Living Trust is specifically designed
to avoid the control of the probate court.


To contact Lynn, telephone (413) 822-9360 or click on the
Contact Lynn button on the left and send her an email.
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