Whether you have a will or not, when you die, someone has to take over the duties related to legally closing your Massachusetts estate (unless all your assets are jointly owned or distributed to beneficiaries named in, for example, life insurance policies, retirement accounts or trusts). This estate administrator, known as your personal representative, has many responsibilities while probating your estate.
If you are the executor of an estate that exceeds the Massachusetts exclusion amount of $1 million, you may have some questions about paying the estate taxes.
When it comes to probate, a plethora of questions may be on your mind and you may need to focus on various facets of the law. For example, many people move forward with filing an informal probate petition, while formal probate is necessary for others. Moreover, you may need to take a different approach depending on whether your loved one died with a will or without a will. If you are filing a formal probate petition, there are a number of pointers that may be helpful for you to go over.
Many probate issues can complicate life for beneficiaries and executors alike, but allegations that an executor has breached their fiduciary duties are very serious. Some of the time, these accusations are true and an executor did fail to respect his or her fiduciary duties. For example, an executor may have intentionally chosen not to distribute the assets of an estate appropriately. On the other hand, there are times when these allegations are altogether false, whether a beneficiary does not understand what was put forth in the estate plan or intentionally launches a false accusation. Curley Law Firm knows how hard these standoffs can be for both sides and the impact these disputes can have on families.
All sorts of complications may arise when it comes to estate matters, but those involving disagreements with beneficiaries can be particularly complex. Whether you are setting up a trust, have been named an executor, or are a beneficiary of your loved one's estate, it is vital to handle any disputes appropriately. In Wakefield, and other cities across the state of Massachusets, these disputes have created all sorts of problems for entire families. Our law firm knows that in some instances, disputes between beneficiaries and executors have even torn families apart.
Whether you are having difficulty deciding which type of trust will serve your needs best or you have uncertainty about naming beneficiaries, the estate planning process can be complex. Moreover, there are certain key terms, such as intestacy, you may not be familiar with, which could have a significant impact on your property, depending on your circumstances. For example, those who do not have estate plans in place at the time of their death may have their property distributed in a way which would have gone against their wishes.
Disputes involving estates take many forms, from accusations of a breach of fiduciary duties to will contests which claim that a will is not valid. Curley Law Firm knows the many ways in which these disputes can affect those involved and create lasting pain and hardships for families across the state of Massachusetts. If you are currently going through an estate dispute, it is important to take steps to minimize the potential impact of the dispute, if possible, while ensuring that your rights are not violated.
When Massachusetts families are faced with the passing of a loved one, you'll soon discover that there's an entire world of complex legalities behind it. Even when dealing with the emotional traumas of a death, these issues will still need to be tended to.
In the first part of this series, we explored intestacy and wills. Today, we will delve deeper into what Massachusetts estate planners should know about trusts.
At Curley Law Firm, L.L.P., we have answered many clients' questions about Massachusetts estate law. One of the most fundamental questions that all of our clients face is which type of estate plan is right for their needs.