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Massachusetts Probate Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: My dad left an irrev. trust&my sister & I are co-trustees. Everything's split 50/50.Is it legal for her to take things

My father passed away and left an irrevocable trust. My sister and I are co-executors and everything is divided 50/50. She has gone behind my back and taken things (of significant value). Is that legal and if not what can I do to stop her? My sister and I have been estranged for many years so there... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jul 10, 2021

Your probate attorney can help you file a petition to require your sister to account for all assets or to have her removed as executor if she is engaging in malfeasance.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: If you have very little money to pay for probate process, what options are available?

Yes. We tentatively signed up with an estate law firm and were told we'd have to wait a full year to get anything from my sister's estate.

Then, when I prodded, they admitted they might be able to give a "partial distribution" All this leaves me with many questions... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jul 6, 2021

Estate administration is an area of practice specialty and practitioners advise as to the law and also based on their familiarity with problems that can occur along the way. It is best practice not to make any payouts in distribution until the extent of the estate's liabilities is fully known... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Civil Litigation, Elder Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Can an alternate designation written on a will (not a beneficiary) supersede the Heirs-at-law?

A second cousin is named as an alternate in a will. The first cousins are the heirs-at-law. The second cousin is contesting the will.

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jun 28, 2021

If the devisees under the Will are all alive, then it would seem that an alternate designated or conditional beneficiary-devisee would not take under the Will. If the Will is disallowed the heirs under intestacy would take.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Does a successful motion-to-dismiss cancel a pre-trail in Massachusetts?
Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jun 16, 2021

Yes.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: In Massachusetts can poorly written objections (contesting a will) be dismissed with out a pre-trail.

Objection states no wrong-doing nor does it offer any evidence of wrong-doing. It only implies wrong-doing. Is there a process in which pre-trail can be canceled? Can an order of dismissal be serviced without conference/pre-trail?

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jun 16, 2021

If the Appearance and Objections/Affidavit were timely filed then a Motion to Strike may work.

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: What lawyer/lawyers would I need to help my partner sell his house he has inherited while he is incarcerated. Thank you

My partner is currently incarcerated, he has inherited a house from his father who recently passed, who wants to take completely ownership of the house and sell it. How does the process work and what lawyer/lawyers would I need to contact to do this. Is it best to have probate or criminal law... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jun 15, 2021

He needs a probate attorney to help him get the house transferred from his father's estate and into his name, and then he needs a real estate attorney (and maybe also a real estate broker) to help him sell the house.

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: My mother died in January of covid.

My mother was in a nursing home for 3 years when she died. My brother asked to move into her home 2 years ago. My mother has a will, but my sister and I were concerned because my brother is a person who does not pay his bills. We had the estate lawyer draw up an agreement that basically said my... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jun 8, 2021

As PR you may seek an equity action against him for losses to the estate and seeking to offset against his share of the estate under the Will.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Landlord - Tenant and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Hello, I have a question about releasing rights under homestead.

My mother and her sister are deeded owners of our home. In 2018 the deed was re-filed to include my mom and also release homestead rights for her sisters husband. The married co-owner has since deceased and we are making sure the release of homestead clause ensures he has no right or legal... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Apr 26, 2021

Your question is unclear and I suggest that you should state whether the last deed has more than one grantee listed and if so, does it state that the grantees are joint tenants with the right of survivorship and not tenants in common? Homestead waivers are separate documents. You should also have a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Domestic Violence and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: I was accused of drug use with zero history of drug usage. In family and probate. Pat.g. Parents. Are temp gaurdians

My son and I were physically assaulted by my now ex. My sons father. He is being charged with 3 counts a&b and 2 counts suffocation/strangulation. He was bonded on $5000 bail, plus gps and zero contact with myself and our son. He was found to be a danger. After this transpired, my decade long... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Apr 7, 2021

If you are seeking custody of the child and opposing guardianship of paternal grandmother then you should engage counsel to represent you if you are able to do so. In contesting guardianship an indigent parent can have court appointed counsel via motion to the court requesting same. The is random... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law, Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: I signed over my home to my grandson . Can I reverse this decision? Is there a time limit to do this
Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Mar 29, 2021

You have not supplied any details as to what the circumstances were and it is possible that you were victimized and coerced into doing so or not competent at the time and may be able to pursue an equity action. Pursuing action sooner is better than later and you don't want to run into any... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Desperately looking for experienced pro Bono lawyer for probate case involving a narcissistic parent. Any recommendation

Please send any information you may have to help us. Thank you

Richard Gaudet
Richard Gaudet answered on Mar 26, 2021

The Massachusetts Legal Resource finder, at masslrf.org/en/home, is a great resource to guide you.

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Child Support, Employment Discrimination and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: How to go forward with a judge that works with my husband for 20 years ruled against me and my husband told me he would
Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Mar 1, 2021

Are you pro se? Did you tell your attorney this ? A Motion to Recuse is the usual method of proceeding when there is an association between either party and the Judge or an appearance of conflict even it is a good idea for the Judge to recuse.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Realty Trust and/or Family Trust?

My wife and I have 1 single home jointly owned, and a 2-unit rental in my name only (had it since before marriage). We agreed, since we have no kids, after we’re gone, our inheritance goes to my nephews and niece. Wills have been drawn up, if I go first she gets all, the same if she goes first... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 19, 2021

This is a very common concern and there are definitely ways to solve this problem, but this is not a do-it-yourself project. You should hire an estate planning attorney to help you with this. The attorney will explain to you the pros and cons of the various solutions.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: My father passed away. I know he had started writing a will leaving everything to me and my sister, his only kids.

I don't know if he ever finished or properly filed it. He was divorced. I think he may have made his brother (my uncle) the executor, or at least informally asked him to manage his finances if anything happened. As soon as my father died, my uncle and another one of my father's siblings... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 15, 2021

Hire a probate attorney right away to start a probate of your father’s estate and appoint you or your sister as executor or administrator of his estate. This will give you or your sister authority to demand the return of all stolen assets. Do not delay.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate and Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: NS Wills filed like death certificates,no probates,heirsThen sell massachsetts land to me.How do i get title insuranc
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 15, 2021

Contact a local title insurance company and tell them you would like to purchase a title insurance policy.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Can a parent be a guardian of a minor heir in informal probate if parents are divorced?

My minor nephews are listed as beneficiaries in my Dad's will. I filled informal probate, but it was rejected because they only have parental representation. Can their mother, my former sister-in-law, who is not mentioned in the will be their representative? If not, can we still proceed with... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Feb 10, 2021

If there is not a Conservator appointed over a minor already , then this process of obtaining an appointment takes time also and you should consider filing a Formal. The issue of suitability of the parent to hold funds can be brought forward in the Formal Petition and the Court can appoint a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Probate and Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: I live in MA , my husband died last year, left no will, house in his name only and we have 2 adult children that’s all.

How do I proceed to put house in my name so I may legally sell?

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Feb 1, 2021

If all of the children are of your marriage to him or are yours and his, then you take all of the estate. However, you will need to commence an estate in the Norfolk Probate Court if that is the residence county and seek appointment as Personal Representative and notify MassHealth Estate Recovery... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Property was owned as follows, Mother’s Estate 50%, two daughters 25% each. One daughter paid expenses of home from

Date Mother passed until sale as other daughter refused to sign sale papers if expenses were reimbursed. Expenses were placed in escrow until agreement made. A small claim suit was filed to force release of escrow, but a counter suit was filed for financial and emotional distress. What type of... Read more »

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Jan 31, 2021

A Massachusetts attorney could advise best, but your post remains open for two weeks. I'm sorry for the loss of your mother. As a GENERAL matter, there is a tort law cause of action called intentional infliction of emotional distress - but this sounds like it might be something more along the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: In Ma- I inherit 12% of my parents house upon their passing. Is that value the year they die or the year house is sold?
Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jan 19, 2021

At sale and distribution or an undivided percentage interest if unsold.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: In Ma- I inherit 12% of my parents house upon their passing. Is that value the year they die or the year house is sold?
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jan 18, 2021

It's not a value; it's a percentage. You are a 12% owner. When the property is sold, you should expect to receive 12% of the net proceeds. However, other factors can change the final distribution, and you should seek the advice of counsel if you don't agree with the final distribution.

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