What is Probate?

When an individual creates an estate plan, they are preparing for what will happen to their precious assets and belongings after their life is over. Part of creating this plan and administering it after the individual dies is the process of probate. The process of probate exists to determine whether or not a deceased individual’s will is a valid document. It also works to conclude the value of their assets and any outstanding debts or taxes that are still required to be paid. When an individual passes away, there is a possibility they may have an estate to be administered and a will that must go through probate. It is important to speak with an experienced attorney if you are responsible for the estate administration process.

Filing a Will to Probate

When an estate plan is created, the individual may choose to appoint an executor to handle the administrative duties. In beginning this process, the executor must file the deceased individual’s will in the Surrogate Court where they lived. This also requires the executor to give the court the individual’s death certificate, the probate petition, as well as any other documents that may be necessary. When the will is filed, any beneficiaries to the estate will receive notice of where the probate will occur.

The process of probate works to establish the validity of an individual’s will. When a will is created, there are certain guidelines that are required to be followed in order for the document to be considered legal. This requires the individual to be of sound mind while they are writing and signing the will. They must not be coerced into signing the will, with witnesses present to the signing to attest to that fact. If the requirements are not met, the will may not pass the process probate. If the Surrogate Court finds the will to be valid, the administration process may continue.

Closing an Estate

When a will passes probate, the executor may continue the remaining responsibilities of administering the estate. This may involve paying off any debts or taxes, resolving any contests to the will, and distributing all assets to their rightful beneficiaries. When the court believes the executor completed all of their duties, the process can end and the estate can be closed.

Contact our Firm

If you have been assigned as an executor and are required to take care of an estate, contact the Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C. today.

If you require compassionate and knowledgeable legal guidance for a matter of divorce, family or estate law, please contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley today. Our firm proudly serves clients in Mansfield, Massachusetts and throughout Bristol County.