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Massachusetts Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: When I pass are my children responsible for any bills left behind like visa or master chg.etc.
Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on May 31, 2018

Your children will not likely be personally responsible for these bills, but if there are any assets in your estate like real property, bank accounts, etc., your creditors have a right to pursue your estate and seek recovery from those assets. The effect of this may be that your children's share of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: I have a vacation house in Florida. To put it in a trust would I do so under Florida law or Massachussetts?
John Espinosa
John Espinosa answered on May 22, 2018

There may be good reasons to do one over the other depending on the circumstances and your needs.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: My father died recently; I am a beneficiary. My sister opened an estate account with her as executor, leaving me out.

She was able to open an Estate account in the name of my deceased father's estate with her as the sole executor. However, the Surrogate's Court had decreed that I was to be named co-executor and all financial decisions including estate account opening required my knowledge and consent. My... Read more »

John Espinosa
John Espinosa answered on Apr 10, 2018

In order to open an estate account at a bank your sister would have had to present the bank with the papers from the court that appointed her personal representative. The bank is required to follow what the court papers say as far as who is personal representative of the estate and therefore... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: My father passed away and did not list me his will his only child..his spouse died 4 months later no other children.

Am I entitled to the sale of the property that was sold by the personal rep

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Apr 4, 2018

Were you unborn when the will was created? Or was this an uncertain paternity situation where father may not have known you were his child ?When was the will created? What were the circumstances surrounding will execution? Were you properly noticed of the probate proceedings? were they in... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: whats the best way to say i came of my own free will to a lawyer
Jonathan R. Roth
Jonathan R. Roth answered on Mar 27, 2018

The statement is I am signing this document of my own free will. It is a statement you make in front of witnesses and notaries.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: How many people do I need to witness a will?
John Espinosa
John Espinosa answered on Mar 21, 2018

Two witnesses and one notary, none of whom can be named in the will.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Bank won't accept will and certified voluntary administration, wants Estate Tax ID

I filed to represent an estate of which I am the sole beneficiary and executor under the will. There was a small checking account balance - approx $800, an older car (2004) in need of repairs and misc clothing furniture etc most of which was donated to charity. The petition (voluntary... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Feb 5, 2018

You will need a federal tax payer ID to liquidate the bank account and motor vehicle. You can discuss with your tax preparer or accountant whether or not you need to file fiduciary tax returns , but you would also need to file the tax returns for the last year of the decedent's life and there... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: As executor of estate, can I start an estate account ? I have the TIN number.

Probate attorney says I must give to him, checking on my rights.

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Feb 2, 2018

You also need your appointment letter along with the Tax payer ID #

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Consumer Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Do I have to allow the lawyer to take the estate funds or can I create an estate account myself, is there a law?

Informal, under 450,000. Assets ( house sale, insurances, property) no contest. One credit card and he already lost track of a disbursement, can I as executor pay what’s owed to who?

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Feb 2, 2018

You would be setting up an estate bank account with an estate tax payer ID and you can arrange to have the attorney copied with bank statements.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: My uncle passed away and is there a certain length of time for the attorney handling the estate to file the paperwork

To appoint the executor to the estate

The state is Massachusetts

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jan 25, 2018

The limit would be a limit imposed by Massachusetts law and Massachusetts bar rules of professional conduct.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: I have been married 40 yrs this year. I am on SSDI. We had to sell the family home in 2006.

I now live in my wifes mothers home. It is in my wifes name and my sister in laws brothers name. Am I entitled to any $$ when this home is sold. I have lived in this home for 10 years, My sister in law has been deceased for 7 years this month.

Jonathan R. Roth
Jonathan R. Roth answered on Jan 23, 2018

Assuming your wife is still living, then no you have no direct ownership rights save as to perhaps your limited rights under CHAPTER 189 DOWER AND CURTESY. If the property is titled as joint tenants and your wife predeceases you, then you probably have no rights. if the property is owned at... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: How can I bring my grandmother, who resides in Puerto Rico, against her will and her husbands will to the United States?

She is 77 years old. She suffers from advanced rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, diabetes, hypertension and possibly a number of other medical concerns that we are unaware as she refuses medical care, refuses all medical appointments, refuses to eat more than 1 full meal a day. Her husband who lives... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jan 19, 2018

You will need to engage an attorney who practices elder l;aw/guardianship in Puerto Rico and you likely will have to attend court there to obtain guardianship with authority to move her to Massachusetts. This is really a Puerto Rican law question.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Will my step-mom receive all of my dad’s assets & life insurance if he dies before her without a will? Can I contest?

As a child, my biological mother passed away and dad since remarried. I am now an adult and my step-mother and I have a distant relationship. Am I entitled to any benefits if there is no will?

Jonathan R. Roth
Jonathan R. Roth answered on Jan 15, 2018

If there is no Will, your father's estate will be divided 50% to your step mother and 50% to you and your siblings. However, as I recall the first $200K goes to the spouse before the division. However, things held in a joint account will go directly to your step-mother as they are not part of the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Civil Litigation for Massachusetts on
Q: How can I protect my inheritance from my grandmother? There's no will.

I was left $28,000 by my grandmother who has died. She left it with a drug addict who threatens to take it every chance he gets. This happens to be her son. He is saying that the stipulation was that I have to go to medical school. I don't believe that was a stipulation. How can I make sure the... Read more »

John Espinosa
John Espinosa answered on Jan 14, 2018

If there is no will and no trust then you may not actually have any inheritance from your grandmother. If you do in fact have some claim to an inheritence as an heir of your grandmother's, then you could intervene in the probate court case for administration of the estate. You should consult with... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: Do I need to have my will notarized?
Jonathan R. Roth
Jonathan R. Roth answered on Jan 12, 2018

Massachusetts requires two witness signatures but it is recommended that you have the Will notarized so there can be no challenge as to whether it was you who signed it. So I would have my Will notarized which you should be able to do at your local bank branch or a local office supply store, et... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: My question pertains to my deceased husband who died without a will but has 2 children of his own (not mine).

He died in June 2013, leaving a large mortgage behind and there was no equity in house at that time either. My name is not on the mortgage but i have continued making all the mortgage payments all this while. I was advised by a lawyer quickly back when he died that I had no estate to split because... Read more »

Jonathan R. Roth
Jonathan R. Roth answered on Dec 28, 2017

In whose name is the property. As his wife you can assume the mortgage so long as you live in the property. Under MA law, the first $200,000 of equity in the estate passes to you and the balance of the estate is split the remainder of the estate.

If you are not the guardian for the...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: My son is 17, his dad passed away 5 days ago without a will. I was not married to his dad. His dad has real estate.

He was survived by a sister and his mom and dad. How do I become administrator of his estate?

John Espinosa
John Espinosa answered on Dec 25, 2017

First, read the part of the law that explains how heirs work without a will: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartII/TitleII/Chapter190B/ArticleII/Section2-103

Then, read the instructions for a formal probate petition without a will:...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: Does a will need to be written down, or can an audio recording count?
Jonathan R. Roth
Jonathan R. Roth answered on Dec 14, 2017

A will has to be in writing.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: My father passed away last year and my sister who was appointed executor of his estate claimed to be an only child!

Can I do anything about it? I was in his will

Jonathan R. Roth
Jonathan R. Roth answered on Dec 13, 2017

Yes, contact an attorney immediately and file a complaint in the probate court, if the matter is still pending their or in Superior Court if the probate matter is closed for fraud. A great deal of additional information is necessary. However, lawsuits are expensive.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: QUESTION CONCERNING A FAMILY ISSUE, ESTATE, AND INHERITANCE

MY MOTHER OWNS A HOUSE WORTH AROUND $500,000. SHE CURRENTLY HAS A $100,000 MORTGAGE ON THE PROPERTY. THE EXTERIOR OF THE HOUSE HAS RECENTLY BEEN DONE, NEW WINDOWS, ROOF AND SIDING. THE INTERIOR OF THE HOUSE NEEDS A LOT OF WORK. MY BROTHER WANTS TO MOVE IN WITH HIS WIFE. HIS PLAN IS TO GET A... Read more »

Jonathan R. Roth
Jonathan R. Roth answered on Nov 27, 2017

The only way your brother can get a new mortgage on the property is if he takes an ownership interest in the property or he enters into a rental agreement with your mother and she gets the mortgage and he can guarantee it. The issue is how the $400K in current equity is split between your brother... Read more »

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