Dealing with probate isn’t fun for anyone. If you have a probate property in Massachusetts, here are a few things you should know!
If you are dealing with the probate process in Massachusetts, the process can feel confusing, overwhelming, and stressful. Many people don’t know what to expect or how things will be handled. While the process varies state to state and based on the value of the estate, there are a few basic things that you can count on. Keep reading to learn more about the things you should know when dealing with a probate property in Massachusetts!
If There Isn’t A Will…
If there isn’t a will, the property will go into what is called intestate. Someone must ask the court to appoint them as the administrator of the estate. This is typically the spouse or child of the deceased. In some cases, the court can also be ruled the legal representative of the estate. A notice of hearing will typically be published, notifying any heirs and giving them the chance to come forward. At this time, creditors will also be notified of the death and given a chance to come forward with a claim against the estate.
In some cases, the property will be tied up in probate court for months at a time. During this time, the executor will need to attend hearings, validate heirs, discover assets, and pay off any valid creditors that have come forward. The courts can move pretty slowly, making the process drag on and on over time. Some executors will claim a fee for their involvement in the process. This fee covers the time spent as well as any other fees incurred during the process. Many executors will waive the fee in order to make the process move more quickly and to keep the peace with other heirs involved.
Handling Claims Against The Estate
Often times when someone passes away, there will be claims of repayment against the estate. Creditors are notified upon the death either directly or via an ad in the local paper. These creditors must then properly file their claims against the estate in a timely manner. Once the court has deemed the claims valid, they must be paid off by the estate before any portion of the inheritance is distributed to the heirs. The claims can be debts that have racked up over time as well as any final arrangements and medical expenses for the deceased.
If there is a will, the heirs and beneficiaries will be clearly defined. If there is not a will, all living heirs must be found and notified of the death. The executor must see to it that proper notification is provided to anyone who may have a claim as a living descendent. If the court deems them to be a qualified heir, they will receive their inheritance once all other debts have been paid off.
Accounting For All Assets
In some cases, it may be a challenge to account for all the assets a person owned. Things may not be laid out nice and neatly, especially if the death was sudden. The executor of the estate will need to do some detective work to make sure all assets are accounted for. In some cases, there could be investments, bank accounts, and other assets that only the deceased knew about. Family members can sometimes be surprised by what they find.
Dealing with the probate process can be stressful and time-consuming. Knowing what to expect can make the process go much more smoothly.