Probate is the court-supervised administration of your estate. It generally has three purposes:
1. To marshal all of your assets
2. To pay your bills and resolve disputed creditor issues
3. To oversee distribution of your estate as you directed.
If you have a will, filing a petition to admit your will to probate it is usually the way to initiate the probate process. If you die without a will, a petition to appoint a personal representative, sometimes called an administrator, is filed with the court. In either case, notice to all of your heirs and beneficiaries is generally required before the hearing.
Even though statutes allow estates to be closed in a limited period of time, for example 12 months, experience demonstrates that the actual time of closure is much longer. In some cases it can be even longer if disagreements arise among the beneficiaries.
Dealing with the loss of a loved one makes it very difficult to deal with probate, tax and trust administration matters. If you need help with the process, please contact our office by calling (781) 237-2815 or by downloading a complimentary guide, After Losing a Loved One…What Do I Do Now?