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Massachusetts Probate Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Banking and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: My wife and I live in Massachusetts. Fifteen or so years ago she opened a bank account in her name only.

She named her brother as recipient of the account if she were to die. As community property, shouldn't the funds come to me? Is what she did legal/legitimate?

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Oct 28, 2022

Massachusetts is not a community property state. The entitlement to the proceeds of the account are governed by whatever bank account agreement your wife signed when she opened the account. If the agreement states her brother is to receive the funds in the event of her death, that agreement is... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Banking and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Does a revocable living trust need to be amended to remove a deceased co-trustee?

Bank is saying they cannot make changes to accounts in a trust's name because their documentation lists my deceased mother as a trustee, so changes (e.g. closing frozen accounts/transferring funds to new accounts) would require her signature... Is this accurate? Even though she is obviously... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Nina Whitehurst
answered on Oct 2, 2022

You do not need to amend the trust, usually. The typical solution is to prepare an updated Certification of Trust that recites that the original trustee is deceased and identifies the successor trustee(s).

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: HUSBAND DIED with no will then WIFE DIED 2 months later WITHOUT CLAIMING INHERITANCE, who inherits the deceased husband?

MASSACHUSETTS - HUSBAND DIED with no will, and his WIFE DIED 2 months later WITHOUT CLAIMING INHERITANCE of husband, can the SIBLING OF THE DECEASED HUSBAND inherit him? The husband had NO children and parents NOR does the wife.

Did the wife AUTOMATICALLY get the inheritance, or did she... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on Sep 2, 2022

Assuming the decedents were Massachusetts residents and there was no Will and that the husband had no children from a prior relationship, the wife would still be the heir . If there was a Will excluding her you have not so stated.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: My step mother had contacted me 3 years after my dads passing for myself and my sister to sign to make her executer

When my dad passed away 3 years ago he had no assets including house cars or property. She had randomly reached out tonight asking us to sign and make her executer of his “estate”. How should we proceed?

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on Sep 2, 2022

First of all , was he a resident of Massachusetts? If so ,Is it a Late and Limited Petition? Because a regular estate post 3 years is not available. The Late and LImited Petition is just that- a filing to determine title to assets inasmuch as the 3 years post date of death has passed.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: I'm the executor of my uncle's estate. 6 years ago I negotiated a promissory note for the estate. 2 beneficiary opted ou

I have the final note payout do I pay them?

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on Aug 2, 2022

Is the final payout due under the note's terms? If so, yes!

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Husband died with no will, and the wife died 2 months later without claiming anything, whose next of kin inherits what?

MASSACHUSETTS - Husband died without will and then his wife died 2 months later. The husband has no children and parents, only a sibling nor does the wife. Did the wife automatically get the inheritance, or did she need to follow a procedure to get it within some days? Does the inheritance belong... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on Jul 29, 2022

Were they domiciled in Massachusetts ?Did the death of husband happen after March 2012? Neither had any children? A post March 2012 death brings the Massachusetts Probate Code into the response so that if husband had no children then surviving wife would take all if no Will.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: My God mother died recently and gave me instructions to send money to one of my kids. I sent it 2 days after she died.

She verbally left everything to me and her partner and family agrees

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on Jul 25, 2022

If your godmother was domiciled in Massachusetts she needed to have a Will ( nonverbal- in writing ) with suitable witnessing , etc. so, you have acted without authority in any event and it is up to her heirs or potentially other creditors as to what they wish to do against you for taking the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: How can I retrieve money from bank that is in my deceased brothers name, No wife or kids. I'm it. No death certificate

I am left from my family. My brother never married or had children. He passed in 2011. A bank in Boston has money of his. How can I retrieve it?

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on Jul 15, 2022

You will need to follow the process for a Voluntary Statement filing in the Probate Court for the County where your brother was living and you will also need to obtain his death certificate which the funeral home can help you with and you can also contact the town where he died .

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Is a creditor required to file a claim against an estate with the probate court?

My brother passed away 13 months ago with over 20 different debt accounts including loans, credit cards and medical bills. I assume that the estate will be solvent, although I am still not clear about taxes from previous years (final returns have already been completed) and just recently filed... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on May 10, 2022

If there is not already a lien or automatic lien , then the creditors who failed to properly perfect their claims by following the statute within one year from the date of death are out of luck.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Can a person who is physically unable to manage the duties of executor to an estate because of grave illness renounce ?

Person would need to turn over to responsible party if the courts of possible

Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Nina Whitehurst
answered on Apr 12, 2022

Yes, of course. Nobody can be forced to serve as executor.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: My dad died with a Will. My mom died intestate. The house was left to 6 children. 1 died before her death. Succession?

Probate listed the 6 grandchildren of the deceased daughter. How does it go now? Since have lost 3 more direct heir

My dad died in 1991 left all estate to mom. sister died 2001.mom died 2008 without a will. 3 brothers passed within past 5 years. Who inherits the property ( house) in Massachusetts

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on Mar 14, 2022

So, assuming that Mom was a Massachusetts resident who did not remarry, all of her children would receive equal shares of the real estate and if a child( one of your siblings ) predeceased your Mom , then if they had issue, the issue would step into the shoes of the deceased parent. If a child of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: My uncle died with no will, no kids, & both parents deceased. He has 2 living siblings & 1 deceased sibling (my mom)

Am I entitled to my mother's share of his estate or is it just split between my uncle's 2 living siblings? I should have noted he also had no spouse.

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on Mar 10, 2022

You did not state when he died or whether he was a resident of Massachusetts or if he was married, but assuming he was a Massachusetts resident and died after March 2012 and was not married , then since his parents are dead his siblings and you as the issue of a deceased sibling are the heirs... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: I am an only child so I will inherit everything my mom has left do I still have to go to probate

She lived in ri was widowed and I am her only child I am beneficiary on some stuff but not everything because she had not updated paperwork yet. Does the stuff I am not beneficiary on have to go to probate even though I am only heir

Peter C Herbst Jr
PREMIUM
Peter C Herbst Jr
answered on Dec 26, 2021

I'm sorry for your loss. Generally, if an asset does not have a joint owner or a beneficiary designation, that is an asset that goes through probate. Probate is the process where a legal determination is made as to who her heirs at law are. You mentioned she lived in Rhode Island and you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: My Dad died with a will leaving everything to my stepmother. Can't I still inherit part of his estate?

She just sent me a legal paper to sign giving up my rights to any of his holdings. He still owes my mother $80k for back child support.

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on Nov 17, 2021

So, did your mother pursue a Contempt action to establish the arrears? Is she living and able to pursue the claim against her former husband's estate? If not, are you the Personal Rep of her estate? You really need to discuss the whole issue with a Probate attorney ASAP as there is a one year... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: My father owns a home but does not live in it, my sister is living In it. My dad has a will and leaves estate to both

of us. how does my sister living in this house currently impact that? does she have rights to keep the house and not sell if my dad passes?

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on Oct 18, 2021

The terms of the Will govern and whether or not there are debts and liens to be paid by the estate are also considerations for the Personal Representative. If the property is left to both of you, you can also seek reasonable rents. Sometimes the other devisee is interested in purchasing the other... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Patents (Intellectual Property) and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Is this possible and how can I fix this or what do I do?

My father passed away unexpectedly a couple months ago. June 12th to be exact and a month later after his funeral, I filed intestate probate as he had no will. He had debt and expenses, but his parents took care of it. After legally doing all the paperwork for probate it was done within 3 weeks... Read more »

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

If you are appointed Personal Representative of his estate you can and should obtain information from the Registry of Motor Vehicles about the title and transfer information. If assets or monies were stolen from the estate then you may be advised to pursue the parents depending upon whether the sum... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody, Child Support, Civil Rights and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: What do I do if I’m paying child support and being denied visitation rights to my daughter
Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on Sep 3, 2021

If you have a visitation order or a Judgment that states the terms of visitation and are being denied visitation , then there appear to be grounds for a Contempt action unless there is something happening which is inimical to the child's best interests in which case the custodial parent... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: In Massachusetts, are legal set-offs allowed for settling loan from the estate prior to filing for voluntary probate?

A Massachusetts parent provides an unsecured loan to one son, the remaining principle of which is more than the voluntary probate estate value ceiling of $25K. The other son is executor. The parent's will specifies that the remaining loan should be subtracted from the debtor son's share... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on Aug 20, 2021

Your question has many components and demonstrates the need of advice of counsel! Little information is given as to whether this was a promissory note or not , nor when the decedents died in relationship to each other. Masshealth may also have a lien.

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
PREMIUM
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 »

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