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Massachusetts Probate Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Aunt died with assets not transferred to living trust

How do I probate some stock certificates we came across in my aunt's name that she never transferred to her trust. Since the value is about $20k can I file a voluntary administration probate since that's all that is left to deal with? The rest of her assets were covered in the living trust. I am... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Nov 8, 2019

Yes, a Voluntary Statement should suffice. There is notice to the estate recovery unit and the form seeks asset information and whether there is a will, etc. You will also need a death certificate for filing and the filing fee.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: my sister and I are 50/50 heirs what happens if we both want the same asset listed in the will?

she is the executor and I requested to purchase my dads car which is part of the estate but she advised she was taking it - do I have any claim on it?

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Nov 5, 2019

The Personal Representative has an obligation to maximize the estate and not to self-deal, so she would need to demonstrate that whatever commission for her work as Personal Representative is worth the equivalent of half of the fair market value of the vehicle. If this is an expensive vehicle this... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Ex-husband died, we had 2 kids. His live in girlfriend put all of his assets in storage & claiming they were hers.

We all live in MA, we had twin daughters who are 17 & will be 18 in Feb. He had no children with his girlfriend who lived with him. He definitely had less than $25,000 worth of assets & no will. He had a camper/rv that I was told she transferred the title to herself after his death & she put most... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 13, 2019

You really need to hire an attorney to help you with this. Even if he had a will that left everything to the girlfriend, you at least can make a claim for the unpaid child support. If he did not have a will then most likely his children should get everything.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Is the executor required to notify beneficiaries of what is happening with the estate?

My father passed away 3/2018, and the executor of my dad's estate is my estranged sister. So far, instead of contacting her, I have called the law office for the case to get updates. But for several months now, it appears that my sister has instructed them to not even answer the phone when I call.... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 9, 2019

Hire a local probate attorney to look at the file for you and bring you up to date. The attorney can also file for you a request to receive notice of proceedings.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Massachusetts Probate- can you demand a hair follicle retest? Or contest the results?

Agreed to a hair follicle test because my ex wife who had questionable urine results would only do one if I did. I only smoke cannabis and have nothing to hide. Results came back negative for THC but positive for HEROIN!!! NEVER IN MY LIFE HAVE I USED HEROIN. Been smoking pot for 19years on a... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Sep 19, 2019

You should have a prompt visit to your physician about your results and consider engaging counsel to represent you.

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: My parents reside in Tennessee and my father passed away a few months ago. My mom started to work with a lawyer...

I live in the Northeast and have struggled to ensure that she is handling financial matters without issue. We had tremendous difficulty understanding what my father had set up financially. Took a while to find the will also. She started working with a lawyer to update her will that had not been... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Sep 18, 2019

Do you have agency under the power of attorney? - if so then you can act on her behalf id you have possession of same. Otherwise you will need a Tennessee attorney who specializes in conservatorships to have yourself appointed as such or at least to advise you on what your options are.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: I am named as executor and heir in my mothers notarized will. Must I probate to be official and get her medical records?

My mother has no real estate,car or valuables. Her bank accounts are joint, Her life insurance policies all have a beneficiary. I see 3 choices, formal, informal and voluntary. Which would I choose?

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Sep 13, 2019

Why are you needing her medical records? Is there a wrongful death or workers compensation claim ? Had she had an injury claim that took place but was not the cause of her death? These situations call for a Personal Representative to be appointed by the Probate Court either Formal or Informal... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: does an older sibling have a higher right to appointment? Must we list all siblings when filing probate?

Our Mom listed one executor, the middle child as the executor in her signed and witnessed will. It was also stamped by a notary. When we are filing for probate for her estate, does the older sibling have a higher right to assignment? And must we add all 3 siblings or just the one our Mom wanted to... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 5, 2019

The executor named in the will has the highest priority, but ultimately the executor is chosen by the judge. There is no requirement that the siblings co-executors.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Thank you for this service. I am one of 3 beneficiaries mentioned in an irrevocable trust. The others are "trustees".
Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Aug 27, 2019

Hello, Yes, I would need to review the instrument and are you indicating that you believe self-dealing is occurring with the co-trustee?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Probate and Trademark for Massachusetts on
Q: How do I find out about a will from my great grandfather??

He was an inventor and patented at least 2 machines that I no of. How can I did out about patents payments inherited residual or my rights???

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Aug 21, 2019

If you are the Court appointed Personal Representative of his estate, then you have authority to

contact the Patent Office or you can engage counsel or a search service. Also, you will be able to

review his tax returns, and financial and all other records.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Looking to hire and get questions answered about estate and inheritance law in PR.

My husbands father passed away in 2015. We we told he owned property and arent sure if he had other assets. He has two chilrden my husband being one and his sister. When he passed their aunt to control of everything and included them in nothing. We are looking to find out if everything was done... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Aug 7, 2019

Hello, If your father in law was not a resident of Massachusetts, then it is not a Massachusetts matter unless there was property in Massachusetts in which case what is referred to as an Ancillary appointment would be needed, but this is would entail the same person being appointed in... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: I was the sole caregiver for both of my ailing parents for almost 10 years. After 2 yrs,I had to sell my home and move i

with them because they required around the clock care. My dad passed 3yrs ago, and my mom died may 2018. Throughout that time, my life came to a complete halt. My Sisters continued to work, travel and live their lives. Unfortunately, my mom passed away before she put together a living trust. Me and... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jul 16, 2019

This is a landlord tenant matter at this juncture as well as a probate matter. I cannot tell from the facts presented whether there was a discussion of a potential claim or whether there was and a claim filed against the estate in a timely fashion due to the statute of limitations . You need... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: We live in Texas. My wife’s mother, residency in Massachusetts, passed away in Florida, over 4 years ago.

She had a checking and savings account. The savings acct was put on hold pending probate. My wife was a signer in checking acct. one and a half years after death my wife and her two brothers had a service and wrote a check out checking acct.

Recently the mothers pensioner said they have... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jul 15, 2019

If she was a Massachusetts resident and the sum of money in the estate in question was under $25,000 then a Voluntary Statement could be filed with the Probate Court for the area where she lived and this would hopefully enable you to deal with the bank and pension payment issue. However, sometimes... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: I live in MA, my father who presided in AZ passed away a few weeks ago

My father was married to a woman who he shared no children and my sister and I were a previous marriage. He left no will. How do My sister and I protect our inheritance rights? The wife was hesitant to give us a photo album from our childhood never mind our inheritance. Is there some sort of way to... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jul 12, 2019

This is an Arizona case if your father resided there and you should therefore contact a Probate attorney in that area.

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Do I have any legal recourse for the filing of a Last Will and Testament for my Dads estate? Please see my explanation?

Hello...My dad in Everett, Ma passed away in October 2014...and buried on the 14th of October. My brother who lived with my dad made no effort to contact any family members. I found out via email from a friend...My brother wouldn't take my call's & refused to speak to our uncle, my dad's only... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on May 28, 2019

If father died in 2014 then you would if there are assets over $25,000 involved, need to file a Late Petition to probate the Will and you should do so as soon as possible since you apparently have the original Will. Are you the first named "executor"? If so, you have priority. You should engage... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: do i have to do probate if my dad has no house and no land, i live in nh he lived int ma he has a bank account and a car

loan with a cosigner,he has nothing else with little in bank account.with that said how do i go about the car my understanding is i inherit his belonging and car and as far as i know im not responsible for the car loan the cosigner is but do i inherit the car

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on May 23, 2019

If the assets are nonreal estate and less than $25,000 you would need to file a Voluntary Statement and death certificate in order to have title to the car transferred to you ( are you the only heir? No siblings? )You have not stated whether he had a surviving spouse so I am assuming he did not)

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: I recently found an unclaimed insurance policy for 34,000. My father has been deceased since 1985.

My mother died 10 years ago leaving myself and 3 brothers as his only hiers. Do we have to reopen probate to get the proceeds. I know live in Florida. Do I find a lawyer here or in Massachusetts. He died in Massachusetts.

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Mar 22, 2019

Your question is a bit confusing as you have not clearly stated whether your mother died and it was your father's policy and your mother was a beneficiary and then she later died without having processed the insurance or she was never a beneficiary . If she was never a beneficiary neither she... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: We are trying to open probate to settle my mom's estate if 2 siblings refuse to ok my sister what can be done.
Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Mar 21, 2019

Is there a Will designating your sister as the personal representative? If so, then she can file an Informal Petition with notice or a Formal Petition Or was she intestate?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: My full story is below.

My Grandfather passed away on 12/23/18, and had a Merrill Lynch investment account with 3 beneficiary's. My mother, and her two siblings. My mother passed away two months before him,on 10/9/18. The remaining 2 beneficiary's have since split the account 2 ways, and cut my deceased mother, ( and... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Mar 21, 2019

It depends upon how the beneficiary desigination reads-does it list the 3 persons as joint tenants with the right of survivorship? Or as beneficiaries in common or does it list further contingent beneficiairies.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: My husband died in 2010. In MA, what forms do I use to start the probate process now? All for death after '12
Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Feb 26, 2019

The form set is for Formal Probate and the documentation to file is the same as for post March 31, 2012 deaths although the law on who is an heir or devisee is different.

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