What Is Probate?

last will and testament with dollar , certificate and key.

Probate is the process of completing a person’s legal affairs after their death. It is a court process that involves appointing a personal representative of the estate (formerly known as an executor or administrator) to identify and collect all assets of the decedent (person who has died), notify their creditors, pay their debts and distribute the remaining assets to their beneficiaries and heirs.

Massachusetts has adopted a Uniform Probate Code that has streamlined the probate process to a certain degree. Some people may die “testate” — that is, with a will that nominates their personal representative and identifies the persons or organizations to receive their assets after their death. Others will die “intestate” –without a will, in which case the appointment of the personal representative and distribution of their property will be in accordance with state laws.

In either case, the probate laws of Massachusetts will dictate to a great extent how the decedent’s assets are administered and distributed.. In some circumstances, a decedent’s estate may not even need to be probated. Certain property such as jointly held assets or insurance policies or IRAs with named beneficiaries do not need to be probated but pass directly to the joint owner or named beneficiary.

The probate system can be complicated, but Kellem & Kellem, LLC can help you efficiently navigate its intricacies and determine whether your loved one’s estate needs to be probated and if it does, help guide you through the system.