A significant portion of our practice is assisting families with the legal and tax matters that are necessary after the death of a loved one.
Probate is the court process that is necessary to provide access to assets that are owned by a deceased person in his or her name alone. During the probate process a Personal Representative (formerly Executor) is appointed who is then able to handle all matters related to the settlement of the estate, including the identification and valuation of the deceased’s assets, payment of debts and taxes, and the transfer of estate assets to the heirs or beneficiaries under the Will. Although one of the goals of an estate plan is to avoid the need for probate, in some cases this is not possible.
Whether or not probate is required, there are various tasks that must be completed following a person’s death to ensure their property passes to their intended heirs, title to any real estate is clear, and any necessary taxes are paid.
If the deceased created a Trust, we can assist the Trustee with the trust administration process, whether the trust distributes its assets or continues after the deceased’s death for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries.
Personal Representatives and Trustees are fiduciaries who are held to a high standard of responsibility when administering the estate or trust. It is important to understand your fiduciary duties to avoid personal liability while ensuring the administration of the estate or trust occurs as quickly and smoothly as possible.
We can assist you:
- Determine if a probate proceeding is required
- Obtain the appointment of a Personal Representative if necessary
- Guide successor Trustees in accepting their appointment and beginning the Trust administration process
- Advise Personal Representative and Trustees about their duties as fiduciaries, including the payment of debts and taxes and the safeguarding and sale of estate or Trust assets.
- Work with the family accountant to address tax issues that arise during an estate or Trust’s administration.
- Prepare federal and Massachusetts estate tax returns if and when required
- Prepare probate and trust accountings as required
- Advise the fiduciary regarding the distribution of estate and Trust assets
To schedule an appointment contact Samuel, Sayward & Baler LLC by phone at 781/461-1020 or by email using our Contact form.