New Bedford Probate Lawyer

Probate refers to the legal chain of events that starts when someone passes away. This includes the validation and administration of their last will and testament. The probate process can be especially challenging to navigate while you are grieving after the loss of a loved one.

When you find yourself in this situation, you deserve an experienced estate planning attorney who understands your emotional struggle. By relying on compassionate legal counsel during this time, you can focus on your family. A New Bedford probate lawyer could take care of all estate issues and successfully secure your inheritance.

When Probate Is Necessary

When a person passes away, their remaining assets are transferred to living beneficiaries in accordance with their estate plan. As long as there are assets still held in the name of the deceased person, probate court proceedings are necessary to resolve how those assets are transferred to beneficiaries.

Probate can occur regardless of whether a person dies with a last will and testament in place. While the process is similar, there are some differences in probate cases where a will is present compared to situations where someone dies without one.

According to the law, some estates do not have to go through probate even if they would otherwise qualify. For example, an estate worth less than $25,000 does not need to complete the probate process unless it involves “real property.” Real property includes land, any buildings on or improvements to that land, and the right to use and enjoy that land and its features. A skilled New Bedford probate attorney can explain how these laws and limits apply to each family’s situation.

The Probate Process

Each case in probate court follows a similar pattern. The court starts by determining if there is a valid will in place. Interested parties submit wills they believe are valid, then the court determines if they comply with the law.

Once the matter of a will is settled, the estate administrator, more commonly known as the personal representative, inventories all assets, determines their value, and distributes them to the beneficiaries. The people entitled to receive these assets differ depending on whether a will was in place or not. A probate attorney in New Bedford could help beneficiaries navigate the complex probate process and secure the inheritance to which they are entitled.

Avoiding Probate Is Possible

Probate can take months or years to resolve, which may delay beneficiaries from inheriting what was intended for them. There are also financial costs associated with probate, including court costs and potential legal fees for a probate attorney in New Bedford.

With the right planning, avoiding the probate process entirely is possible. To do this, the deceased person’s name should be removed from all assets prior to their passing. This is frequently done through the use of trusts. A trust is a legal entity that can take ownership of a person’s assets while still allowing them to benefit from them for the rest of their lifetime. If all of a person’s assets are held in trust at the time of their death, there is no need for probate.

Call a New Bedford Probate Attorney Today

No one wants to leave their heirs dealing with the hassle and expense of probate. To address these concerns, develop a strong estate plan with a New Bedford probate lawyer. From trusts to payable-on-death accounts, there are several ways to streamline the process for your loved ones. Call our firm today to get started.

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