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Wills & Probate

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Mansfield Probate Attorney

The death of a family member or other loved is an emotional occurrence. These emotions are often compounded by the stress and confusion of handling the person’s estate and distributing his or her assets to beneficiaries. An experienced probate attorney can assist the executor or administrator of the estate handle the detailed requirements of probating an estate.

What is Probate?

Probate is the area of law which winds up the deceased’s financial affairs and deals with how an estate is handled. It includes laws which ensure that creditors are paid properly. It also ensures that the deceased’s assets are distributed according to his will or, if he died without a will, to those entitled to inherit the assets under Massachusetts law. The probate process begins with a petition to open the estate and to name a personal representative who is responsible for the administration of the deceased’s property. The probate process continues with specific requirements governing the payment of taxes and creditors, the inventory of all assets and the distribution of the assets to beneficiaries.

The Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code has been recently overhauled, with changes in the laws of intestate succession and estate administration becoming effective on March 31, 2012. These changes should streamline the probate process for most families, making it faster, simpler, and less expensive to settle an estate.

Do I need a Probate Attorney?

If not handled properly, administering a probate estate can be complicated and time consuming, particularly when there are disputes among family members about the amount of their inheritance and the timing of the distribution of the assets. An experienced probate attorney can guide the executor or personal representative through the process, helping him perform his duties properly and making sure that the heirs receive all that they are entitled to receive. Attorney Jeffrey Sankey can help provide the following services:

  • Filing court documents and notices necessary to open the probate estate and to obtain court approval of the executor’s or personal representative’s appointment
  • Determining whether creditors have valid claims, and assisting in the payment of those creditors
  • Providing guidance in selling the decedent’s real estate or winding down or selling a business
  • Dealing with insurance companies and investment companies to secure life insurance assets or to transfer assets held in retirement accounts to the beneficiaries
  • Providing advice concerning tax issues, and making referrals to qualified tax professionals
  • Gathering, organizing, and maintaining documents necessary to probate the estate
  • Filing accountings, inventories, and other required documents with the court
  • Responding to questions from beneficiaries and, if necessary, representing the executor or personal representative if any disputes require a court appearance

Providing a level of protection to the executor or representative

If you are named as the executor or personal representative of a family member’s estate, you will be called upon at an emotional time to complete many tasks for which you may have little or no prior knowledge. An experienced probate attorney can provide you with the assurance and protection that you need to be satisfied that the estate is being handled correctly and that the assets are being distributed as your loved one wished. We can explain the process to beneficiaries in a way that will address their concerns and reduce family conflicts. Our goal is to provide you with peace of mind during a difficult time in your life.

Whether you have been named as an executor, or whether a loved one dies without a will, Attorney Jeffrey Sankey can help you navigate the probate process in an efficient and cost effective manner. We also represent the estate, beneficiaries, or excluded heirs if there are will contests involving allegations such as undue influence or fraud. Please contact us at (781) 930-3127 for an initial consultation.


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