Probate is a closely similar process whether it proceeds in New Hampshire, Massachusetts or any other American state. It essentially provides for the lawful administration of assets upon a decedent’s passing. That equates in many instances to court oversight of property earmarked for stated individuals in a will.
We note at the established Howie Law Office (with locations in both Salem and Andover that have provided knowledgeable estate planning assistance to valued clients for more than a generation) that probate is far from being an automatic event following an estate holder’s death.
That is, asset disposition to heirs, beneficiaries and other loved ones can be structured in such a way that it bypasses the probate process. Probate is a public matter, takes some time and often puts a financial onus on those involved in its final accounting.
We stress on our website, for example, that joint ownership of an asset like a bank account passes automatically by law to a surviving joint owner when a co-owner dies. That is similarly true for beneficiaries of insurance policies, retirement plans and other savings vehicles. And trusts are purposefully structured in a manner that allows them to successfully operate outside of probate.
Where a will is involved and/or any of the above property-passing schemes do not feature, a court will step in to oversee asset administration via the probate process. Among other things, the court will weigh in on a will’s validity, assign an executor or administrator if necessary, evaluate estate tax duties, distribute property and attend to related matters.
We welcome contacts to our firm from individuals having any probate-linked or other estate planning questions or concerns. Our deep legal team focuses unwaveringly on optimally promoting the interests of our valued clients in every matter we handle.