At Israel, Van Kooy & Days, LLC, we are very sensitive to the needs of grieving families dealing with the aftermath of death. However, the death sets into play many important practical events, such as probating the will and administering the estate. We give needed advice to our clients. This advice often concerns many aspects relating to property and assets that arise in the course of probating an estate and dividing property among heirs. We help the executors deal with problems efficiently and creatively. We are very aware of the potential for an executor or administrator to be sued, and give careful and realistic advice to protect the executor to prevent lawsuits from occurring.
Immediately After Death
Our attorneys are available to answer all the questions, little and big, that arise after the death. We help our estate-administration clients deal with the questions and confusion that arise after a loved one dies. There are small steps to be taken every day when someone dies. We lead clients through the process carefully, describing the reason for all the little steps and letting clients know what to expect next.
Filing the Probate of the Estate
The first step in estate administration is to file the petition for probate (if there is a will) or the petition for administration (if the person died without a will, i.e., intestate), and all ancillary papers. We carefully monitor the petition through the courts to make the allowance of the will and appointment of the executor (or administrator) as straightforward as possible.
Preparation of Inventory and Accounts
Once the petition has been allowed, we advise on how to marshal the estate assets into estate accounts, and prepare the inventory. We also prepare and file the accounts required by the Court.
Preparation of Estate Tax Returns and Income Tax Returns of the Estate
If necessary, we prepare and complete the Federal and Massachusetts Form 706 Estate Tax Returns, the decedent’s final income tax return, and the estate’s (or trust’s) income tax returns.
Closing the Estate and Dealing with Heirs
The final step is to disburse the estate funds, with the most protection for the executor or administrator as possible, and then close the estate.
Guardian ad Litem
Laurie Israel is frequently appointed by the Massachusetts Probate Courts to serve as Guardian ad Litem for the allowance of accounts of executors and administrators in the Norfolk, Suffolk and Middlesex County Probate Courts. A Guardian ad Litem is often appointed by the Court if beneficiaries are under age or mentally disabled.
Mediation and Collaborative Law
Mediation and Collaborative Law are both effective ways to resolve probate disputes without litigation. Laurie Israel and Karen Van Kooy are available to mediate probate disputes or to serve as collaborative lawyer to resolve disputes in accordance with collaborative law. See website sections on “Collaborative Law” and “Mediation.”