Because most individuals do not give much thought to certain legal proceedings unless they find themselves involved in a related matter, it is fairly common for many people to not understand those processes. However, a lack of information could prove damaging when the time comes to address those legal matters. The probate process is one in particular that many Massachusetts residents may need to know more about.
If a loved one created a will before his or her death, that document would need to go through probate. This process allows surviving family to understand the decedent's wishes and close the estate as needed. Many people find comfort in knowing what their family members wanted when it came to distributing assets and handling other estate matters as such decisions without guidance can be difficult.
Aside from distributing assets, probate also requires the settling of debts associated with the estate. Creditors can file claims against the estate, and the executor must attend to those claims in the appropriate manner. However, creditors must file their claims within a certain time period, or the estate has no obligation to address them.
The probate process can be different for each estate. Surviving families may have unique conditions to work with when it comes to settling loved ones' estates. Because these proceedings may be complicated and take a considerable amount of time to complete, Massachusetts residents may wish to consider enlisting legal assistance. Knowledgeable attorneys can help explain obligations and steps involved with successfully navigating this legal process.
Source: courierjournal.net, "What it means to probate a will or go through probate to settle estate issues", Thomas McCutcheon, July 18, 2017