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Estate Settlement and Probate

The Estate Settlement practice of McManus Estate Planning LLC is tailored to fit the needs of clients with existing Trust-based plans that have been properly maintained and funded. We address the legal needs of such families during and after the loss of a loved one, when emotions are high and it may be difficult to focus on legal issues. We recognize this is not an ideal time for making important decisions. We handle our tasks with sensitivity and we strive to settle estate matters quickly and without undue expense.

We specifically do not engage in probate court administration and do everything we can so that our clients do not need to engage probate court or litigation attorneys in the event of a loss.

The process of transferring all of a decedent’s assets and property, wherever they are located, may be complex. If your plan meets the requirements at McManus Estate Planning, you will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your family will benefit from our legal and financial expertise. We will work cooperatively and closely with the other professionals engaged in the administration of your estate. We offer assistance to the family members who have to make difficult decisions. We provide our specialized knowledge and expertise to settle estates with minimal costs while doing everything we can to ensure the process goes quickly and smoothly.

McManus Estate Planning LLC is in practice so that your loved ones do not have to assume the burden of the time-consuming activity of estate settlement.

The court’s supervision of the process that transfers legal title of property from the estate of a decedent to his or her beneficiaries is called Probate. Property does not necessarily go through the probate process when someone dies. The term “probate estate” refers to any property subject to the authority of the probate court. Assets distributed outside the probate process are part of a person’s “non-probate estate.”

In Massachusetts the probate process can quickly become expensive and time-consuming. Costs associated with the probate process include the attorney’s hourly rate, appraisal fees, executor’s fees, court filing fees, and accounting fees. With the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code there are both informal probate administrations and formal. A common goal of estate planners is to minimize exposure to this process.

Probate is not always necessary and may be avoided with Trust-based estate plans or, for smaller estates, with other arrangements. Survivors, however, may decide to open a probate procedure for certain reasons, such as a dispute over inheritances or doubts as to the validity of documents.

Life insurance and retirement benefits also may not need to go through probate. Such benefits can be paid directly to the named beneficiaries. Money from IRAs, Keoghs, and 401(k) accounts transfer automatically to the decedent’s named beneficiaries. Bank accounts of the “pay-on-death” type (PODs); “in trust for” accounts; or accounts bearing a named beneficiary also may pass to the beneficiary without probate. Many other assets owned by certain legal entities do not need to go through the probate process.

For more information about the estate settlement process and the probate of wills, contact McManus Estate Planning LLC.