Your Guide For Probate And Estate Administration

Every estate plan has its own unique arrangements. It can be a straightforward document or an extremely complex portfolio, but most likely it will be somewhere in the middle. The law firm of John Ryan, III, Attorney at Law has been serving families' estate planning needs both simple and complex here in Salem and the surrounding area since 1989.

Founding attorney Jack Ryan has a wealth of experience handling issues involving estate administration and probate as well as durable power of attorney and other estate law matters. We understand that it is often a difficult time for families because they are grieving a loved one, but they also often have to resolve a wide variety of issues involving finances, asset distribution and managing the probate process here in Massachusetts.

Effectively managing this process may be beyond the abilities of family members. Jack Ryan is the kind of hands-on lawyer who will walk you through this process, providing knowledgeable and reliable legal guidance based on years of experience. Each family is different, but there are some general guidelines for the process during this time.

The Details Of Probate

Probate is a legal process that begins following the death of an individual and can take a year or more — the formal petition takes longer than an informal petition. The goal is to have a smooth and efficient transfer of assets that fulfills the wishes of the testator. Once the will and petition are filed in probate court, an executor or personal representative is appointed. If there is no will, which is also known as intestate, an heir must petition the state to be appointed an administrator of the estate. Then the following steps must take place unless the will itself addresses them:

  • Create an inventory of assets
  • Pay outstanding bills and taxes
  • File a final income tax return
  • Distribute property or assets to heirs
  • File a final account of any income to the estate since the testator's death

How Estate Administration Works

The estate administrator will oversee several legal issues, including probate as well as assets that are not covered by probate, such as retirement accounts and life insurance policies, property in a revocable trust and real estate that is jointly owned. The administrator is also in charge of locating beneficiaries.

Our firm can help you through this difficult time, handling the entire process so you can focus on other important matters. We can also provide legal guidance as issues arise, such as negotiating a will contest or other legal issues in dispute.

Schedule An Appointment To Discuss Your Estate Plan Needs

Call our office at 978-219-2060 or contact us through our website.