The probate process

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2022 | probate

The probate process refers to the legal process whereby a deceased person’s estate is closed out. This means all the debts are paid and the remaining assets distributed to the deceased’s Franklin, Massachusetts, beneficiaries.

The executor/administrator

The person in charge of closing out the estate is the executor, who is named in the Brockton will, or the administrator that is named by the probate judge, if there is not a will or the will does not name a living executor. For example, where an otherwise legally enforceable will named a now-deceased executor, the probate judge will appoint an administrator to act as the executor. This person, with the supervision of the probate judge, will collect the estate assets, use those assets to pay off debts and then, distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. Creditors have one year to make a claim with the executor, and those claims can be rejected by the Chelmsford executor. Though, the creditor can then appeal that rejection directly to the probate judge, who has the final say on debt validity.


A key debt that must be paid prior to distribution assets to the South Weymouth beneficiaries is taxes. The executor or administrator must file the final, personal income tax returns on behalf of the deceased person, including both Massachusetts and federal income taxes. Once everything is paid off, the executor can then get authorization from the probate court to distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.

Bypassing probate

Generally speaking, most states, including Massachusetts, have ways of avoiding probate. This is done, usually, by moving most, if not all, of one’s assets into various trusts to the point where one’s estate has little to no value. Trust assets can then be transferred to beneficiaries outside of probate court process. While more expensive upfront, avoiding the probate process is normally the more prudent option because it can avoid the costs associated with probate, like court fees, administration costs, attorney’s fees, litigation costs, professional service hours, etc.