The death of a family member is a solemn event, and the aftermath can be overwhelming. Regardless of the decedent's estate planning, or lack thereof, we can navigate the probate process, and guide you towards effective trust administration.

Here are a few of the specific services that we provide.

Probate of Wills

When a person dies testate, meaning with a Will, the Will must be filed with the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court. An interested person may also file a Petition for Probate of Will and/or Appointment of Personal Representative. If done properly, a judge will declare the Will as valid and binding, and will appoint a Personal Representative (formerly called an Executor).

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Estate Administration

Once someone is appointed as Personal Representative, they have a duty to administer the estate properly. This includes marshaling the probate assets of the decedents, paying valid claims against the estate, filing accurate tax returns and court documents, and distributing property to the heirs or legatees.

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Trust Administration

Much like the Personal Representative of an estate, the Trustee of a Trust has a duty to properly administer the trust for its beneficiaries. The trustee must invest the trust's assets in a reasonable manner, make mandatory distributions, decide when to make discretionary distributions, file tax returns, and submit accountings to the beneficiaries.

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Inventories and Accountings

The Probate Court sometimes requires that Personal Representatives file an inventory and accounting of an estate's finances. Similarly, Trustees must submit accountings to beneficiaries. Compiling and properly filing these documents can be challenging. It is very important for the fiduciary to keep accurate records.

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Settling Debts

When a person dies, their next of kin often receive mail purporting to help settle the debts of the decedent. However, a creditor must follow very specific steps in order to perfect the debt into an enforceable claim against the estate. Trusts can offer yet another layer of asset protection. With the right advice, you can keep more wealth within the family.

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Distributions to Beneficiaries

Determining how to distribute assets can be difficult, especially if the decedent had a complex financial profile. We can help you to properly distribute trust and estate assets to the correct beneficiaries, whether via Will, Trust, or Intestacy.

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Federal and Massachusetts Estate Tax Returns

It is well known that the only certainties in life are death and taxes. For many, they happen at the same time. We prepare Federal and Massachusetts estate tax returns for Personal Representatives (Executors) or Trustees (if there are no probate assets).

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Beneficiary Representation

If someone else has named you as a beneficiary in their Will or in a Trust, then you have specific legal rights to which you are entitled. Unfortunately, many Personal Representatives and Trustees fail to carry out their duties, to the detriment of the beneficiaries. If you feel that you're being treated unfairly, we can help you enforce your rights.

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Fiduciary Litigation

Although we strive to guide you through the trust and estate administration process as smoothly as possible, there are many ways that a dispute can rear its head. Whether it's a challenge to the validity of a Will, an accusation of a Trustee's wrongdoing, or some other dispute, you can enforce your rights.

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