A Worcester Probate Attorney Can Help Manage Final Affairs

Assistance and counsel for personal representatives

Probate is the court-supervised process of settling a deceased person’s final affairs and distributing the estate in accordance with his or her will — or under Massachusetts intestacy laws if there is no will. While the probate process is not as burdensome as many people believe, it can present some challenges for the personal representatives tasked with making it happen. Our attorneys at Gould & Ettenberg, P.C. fully understand the laws that govern probate administration and the procedures followed in Massachusetts probate courts. A probate lawyer from our firm can also represent personal representatives in Worcester as well as estate beneficiaries and heirs during will contests and litigation.

Aspects of probate

Probate is usually necessary whenever a person dies with property in his or her estate. This often does not include joint property, assets with named beneficiaries or placed in a living trust — a common probate avoidance tool. If the deceased had his or her intentions memorialized in a will by a Worcester wills attorney, that document can be offered for probate and the personal representative named in the will can be appointed. Otherwise, the court must nominate a personal representative and the decedent’s assets will be distributed among his or her family in accordance with Massachusetts law. Although there are different methods of administering an estate, a personal representative’s duties may include:

  • Accounting for estate property
  • Notifying heirs and beneficiaries
  • Notifying creditors
  • Settling claims against the estate
  • Filing income and estate tax returns
  • Settling Medicaid liens
  • Selling estate property
  • Distributing proceeds to beneficiaries

During this process, the personal representative has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the estate beneficiaries and, in some cases, must periodically report to the court on his or her actions. It is also possible that estate beneficiaries, heirs or other interested parties could challenge the validity or meaning of the deceased’s will or the conduct of the personal representative. If this occurs, probate litigation may become necessary to resolve the dispute.

Family businesses

The seamless continuation of a family business after the death or incapacity of an owner or stakeholder is an important issue that should be covered in a thorough estate plan. But even with adequate planning, administering a business in this situation can be a challenge, especially without the assistance of an experienced estate administration lawyer. Our attorneys at Gould & Ettenberg have helped family businesses in this situation throughout the Worcester area carry on business with minimal disruption while transitioning to a new generation of owners or managers.

Contact the firm with more than 35 years of experience in probate court

Personal representatives in Worcester can count on a lawyer from Gould & Ettenberg, P.C. to provide comprehensive assistance during the probate and estate administration process. We have also zealously represented aggrieved beneficiaries and heirs during probate litigation. Contact us by phone at 508-752-6733 or contact us online to set up a consultation with a caring and experienced attorney today. We are conveniently located in downtown Worcester with easy access to both state and federal courthouses as well as convenient parking.