In Massachusetts, the term "probate" refers to the process of transferring property after a person has died. This legal process is overseen by a Family and Probate Court, and generally must be completed within three years of the death. However, not all types of property must go through probate.
While wills are oriented around preparing for what will happen after you pass away, other elements of estate planning can go into effect during your lifetime. A good estate plan takes into account the possibility you may become disabled due to illness or injury.
Massachusetts law requires a will to follow strict rules of formality. One of the most essential requirements is that it be signed in the presence of witnesses. The witnesses can attest to the fact the signature was valid and that the person creating the will appeared to be of sound mind and not improperly pressured or influenced by others.
So much goes into the creation and development of a business. In a way, it is much like raising a child, as it takes similar input, thought, dedication, and sacrifice. So that's why it's not much of a stretch to think about your business during the estate planning process. Thinking about your business's future while you think about your family's future seems like a no-brainer.
Planning for the future can sometimes feel overwhelming. However, for anyone who has thought ahead, they know that they can reap the benefits later on. When it comes to the health and wellbeing of your family and of your business, there is nothing that you wouldn't do to ensure a smooth future for all involved. That's where estate planning comes in.
Planning for the future is something that many think about upon the turn of the New Year. Whatever your goals are for the New Year, and the future in general, an estate plan should be one of them. Estate planning can accomplish many goals that you may not necessarily be aware that it can accomplish. If you are business owner, an estate plan may be necessary in case something were to happen that would make you unavailable to run or make decisions for your business.
After a spouse's death, there is usually much attention paid to their estate and distributing their assets accordingly. However, when an individual loses a spouse, one needs to assess their financial needs moving forward, as there likely will be many changes. While a surviving spouse may have been left assets through their deceased loved one's estate plan, they usually have to adjust to going down to a single income.
Having a comprehensive estate plan is important for everyone. It can help ensure that the estate planner's wishes are honored and provide peace of mind to both the estate planner and family members during a difficult time.
As discussed previously on our Quincy legal issues blog, sometimes a deceased person's estate will need to go through the probate process to legally transfer the decedent's assets and work through any issues left unresolved at the time of death. Careful estate planning can usually help keep most (perhaps all) assets from having to be probated, but many will have to deal with probate to some degree.
Many Quincy residents will have one major question surrounding their estates or the estate of a loved one: how to avoid probate. Before delving into the subject of avoiding probate, we will spend some time making sure that our readers are clear on just when it is necessary to probate an estate.