What is Probate and How Does it Work?
Probate is the process by which your assets are distributed after you die. Some assets will pass automatically- your home, for example, if it is jointly owned with your spouse, life insurance proceeds, certain financial accounts if you have designated beneficiaries, and anything you have already put into a trust.
Everything else must go through the probate court. It is also important to remember that you need the probate court to appoint a personal representative for your estate before anyone has the legal authority to access bank accounts, sell property, or pay bills while the estate is pending.
Having a will alone does not take your estate out of probate court, but it can simplify and expedite the process.
Learn more here about the Probate Court process in Massachusetts.
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