Understanding Estate Planning And Probate
Our lawyers draft wills and other estate planning documents for clients in Taunton and neighboring communities. We also represent people who have been named the administrator or executor of a deceased person’s estate in probate proceedings.
Creating An Effective Will
Everyone should have a will. Young parents need a will to name a guardian for their minor children. You should also have a will to tell the courts how to distribute your property after death, even if you have a modest estate. If you and your spouse should die in a common car accident, your estate could include a significant wrongful death settlement.
How you distribute your estate could make a big difference in the lives of your children. For example, if you die without a will, your children will receive their inheritance in a lump sum when they reach the age of majority. If you draft a will or a trust, you can decide when and how your children should receive the money.
Our lawyers also draft durable powers of attorney and health care proxies. A power of attorney allows you to elect someone else to make decisions for you if you are incapacitated.
A health care proxy (also known as a living will) allows you to let family members and medical providers know whether you want artificial life support and feeding tubes if you are in a coma with no hope of recovery.
For Help Through The Probate Process
Probate is the process of paying creditors and distributing the balance of a deceased person’s estate to beneficiaries in accordance with the decedent’s will — or in accordance with Massachusetts law if there was no will. The person responsible for the probate process is called an executor if there is a will or an administrator if there was no will.
We often represent children following the death of their parents. While people can probate a parent’s estate without a lawyer, it is difficult to do so in Massachusetts because the rules of our probate courts are both complex and arcane. Our state still uses probate forms that were drafted in the 1800s, and you will need a lawyer’s assistance to understand them.