Probate Law

Looking for a probate attorney in Washington DC or Massachusetts? Legall Law can provide the legal guidance and support you need to manage and settle an estate.

Trustworthy Probate Team in Washington DC and Massachusetts

When a beloved family member passes away in the District of Columbia or Massachusetts, surviving loved ones are tasked with settling the deceased person's affairs. This includes paying debts and distributing all remaining assets either according to an estate plan or based on legal standards if no will was made. The process is referred to as probate or estate administration, which can be complex but also essential for preserving inheritances and honoring last wishes.
At Legall Law, our team serving Massachusetts and Washington DC provides personalized legal guidance for families navigating this difficult process. Our experienced team understands your grief and will provide compassionate guidance to ensure all relevant laws are observed, financial, and tax matters are taken care of properly, and disputes between heirs or creditors are addressed.
Throughout the probate process, you can count on our team to protect your rights and interests. We strive to make the process as streamlined and stress-free as possible so you can focus on your family's healing. 

Navigating the Probate Process

In the probate process, the court appoints a Personal Representative, whose responsibilities include gathering and inventorying all the assets, paying debts, preparing a statement of accounts and distributing assets on behalf of the decedent either in accordance with a will, or intestacy distribution laws, if there is no will.
They must first settle the deceased's debts, taxes, and other financial obligations. This may include selling real estate or other assets to cover costs, locating unknown creditors, paying ongoing bills, and completing all necessary paperwork.
However, probate proceedings may not be required for some or all of the decedent's possessions. If assets are owned in a trust, jointly with another person, for example, property owned as a tenancy by entirety with the survivor spouse, or specifically marked to transfer to someone upon death, like life insurance policy benefits, transfer on death deeds, etc. These types of instruments can pass directly outside of probate.
Navigating the probate process in Massachusetts usually takes up to one year, as creditors have a 365-day window, starting from the decedent's passing to submit their claims. The timeframe can be prolonged if there are contentious disputes over an estate plan or unique assets and debts that complicate things even further. Though uncommon, court proceedings may also arise during this period.
In Washington DC, the estate administration process can take anywhere from 6 months to a year or more depending on factors such as the complexity of the assets, claims filed and whether an estate plan was in place.

Probate in D.C

In the District of Columbia, there are multiple types of probate processes based on estate size and level of complexity, including:

  • Unsupervised administration (informal probate)
  • Supervised administration (formal probate)
  • Small estates
  • Foreign estates (ancillary estates)

Generally, estates can be administered with an unsupervised or informal process, but a supervised or formal may be needed if disputes between heirs arise.

Whatever type of probate the estate requires, our team can provide the personalized legal guidance you need to navigate the process.


How Can a Probate Lawyer Help You During This Process?

At Legall Law, our team can help you complete all the different steps of estate administration as quickly and efficiently as possible. We can help with all areas of the probate process, including:

  • Filing wills and Probate Petitions to the Probate Division in either DC or MA
  • Identifying estate assets, gathering an inventory record of them and informing heirs, creditors, & stakeholders about proceedings
  • Making sure that court fees & expenses are taken care of on time
  • Assessment of creditor claims against the estate and reimbursement of fair debts
  • Resolution of matters associated with foreign decedents' estates (ancillary probate)
  • Preparation and filing of accountings to the Probate Division
  • Collaborating with other professionals such as financial advisers or accountants for effortless management of estate business
  • Distributing assets from the estate swiftly and resolving them efficiently

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Probate Required in Washington, DC and Massachusetts?

Yes, Probate is required in Washington DC, Massachusetts, and every state when, a deceased person owned assets solely in his or her name. Fortunately, if the estate assets are worth less than $40,000, you can navigate the process through a small estate administration which is a shorter and less costly process.

What is a Personal Representative?

A personal representative, also known as an executor/executrix or an administrator, is responsible for managing and settling the decedent's estate. This includes handling property transfers, paying debts, and filing necessary documents with the Probate Division in either DC or Massachusetts Superior Courts.

What Happens If Someone Passes Away Without Executing a Will in Washington, DC or Massachusetts?

In Washington, D.C. and Massachusetts, if someone passes away without a will, the probate court uses intestacy laws to decide who should be appointed to divide their belongings. Priority of appointment starts with the Decedent’s spouse and then the children if the decedent died without a spouse.

I Have Been Nominated to Serve as a Personal Representative of a Probate Estate. Can You Help?

Yes, absolutely. Our experienced team can provide the legal guidance and support you need to navigate the process while minimizing potential risks. We can help you with all aspects of estate administration, from filing the necessary documents to settling debt and distributing assets.

Who Serves as Personal Representative

The personal representative is typically a surviving spouse, adult child, or the closest relative to the deceased person. It can also be a creditor. In cases where the decedent did not have any relatives, they may have named someone in their will. The personal representative is responsible for managing and settling the decedent's estate. This includes handling property transfers, paying debts, and filing necessary documents with the Probate Division of either DC or Massachusetts Superior Courts.

Do I Need a Probate Attorney?

While individuals can navigate the probate process without an attorney, it is highly advisable to seek legal counsel. We understand the complexities of the probate system and can ensure that the estate is administered correctly to avoid any delays or potential issues. We will also be able to provide advice, assistance, and representation throughout the process.

Call for a Free Consultation!

At Legall Law, we understand the complexities of navigating probate and ancillary proceedings. Our team is here to help you with all aspects of estate administration, from filing documents to settling debt and distributing assets. We are also well-versed in dealing with any disputes that may arise, such as disagreements over a will's validity or the executor's decisions. Contact us today to discuss your specific probate needs. Schedule a consultation today to learn more about how our team can help you.