What is Probate?

“Probate” is a legal process that deals with the assets and debts left behind after someone dies. By law, probate is supervised by a court, called the probate court. Note that the term “probate” can be used to describe the legal process, the court in which the process takes place, or the distribution of assets. The probate process can include all aspects of estate administration, such as:

  • Proving the validity of a will, if it exists
  • Choosing an estate administrator, executor, or representative
  • Totaling all assets both in and out of the estate
  • Paying all applicable taxes and other debts
  • Identifying all heirs and other relatives
  • Distributing any remaining assets to the heirs as described in the will or based on inheritance laws.
  • Probate typically begins when the deceased’s representative files a petition along with the death certificate in the probate court. The process generally ends when the court formally closes the estate.

The probate process and the administration of an estate can quickly become complicated, particularly if several heirs are involved. Disputes about the validity of a will or trust, as well as the proper manner in which they should be executed, can easily emerge, and resolving these issues often requires legal intervention.

For example:

Who has the legal right to enter the deceased person’s residence, open mail, write checks to pay bills, sell real estate and assets or seek information on bank accounts and other assets held like stocks, pensions and 401k’s?

In order to ensure that your rights are fully upheld in these types of situations, it is essential to have the representation of a skilled Probate and Estate Attorney. Attorney Marie T. Jablonski understands how much the resolution of these issues matter for you and your family, and has the experience you need on your side in cases involving probate and wills.

With 18 years of experience, Attorney Marie T. Jablonski has helped many families throughout the Springfield area as well as Hampden, Franklin, Hampshire and Berkshire Counties. Attorney Marie T. Jablonski has the experience to guide you through this very difficult process and has handled numerous Probate and Estate cases throughout Western Massachusetts. What are you waiting for? Give us a call for a free consultation to see how Attorney Marie T. Jablonski can help you.