Someone close to you has just passed away, a relative or a friend, maybe a parent, a spouse, or a child. After the initial shock and grief, you face many questions:
“What do I do next to wrap-up the deceased’s affairs?”
“Is there a Last Will and Testament, and what if there isn’t?”
“What will happen to the home until it can be sold?”
“What do I do now that I have been named as the Executor?”
“How do we pay the decedent’s bills?”
“Who should inherit the property?”
Consulting an attorney is a smart choice when someone dies. If the job of administering the deceased’s affairs is to be yours, Cohen & Winters can assist you to complete Probate Court paperwork, collect the assets, keep heirs and creditors of the estate informed, and manage the estate.
Many clients do not appreciate that when someone dies, a fiduciary needs to be appointed to deal with the decedent’s financial affairs. Family members do not automatically have a right to step in and take personal items, or sell cars or other property. Creditors of the decedent have a period of time prescribed by law to assert their claims, and legitimate creditor claims need to be paid before the heirs can take their shares. Federal income taxes have to be paid, either for the income earned in the last year of the person’s life, or for the period of time the estate remains open if the estate earns income from business, investments, or real estate activities. In large estates, a federal estate tax return may need to be prepared and taxes paid. Sales of a decedent’s real estate requires a special license to sell from the Probate Court. All of the financial activities of the estate are monitored by the Probate Court for compliance with all procedural requirements.
Our probate experience enables us to tell whether estate administration is or is not even needed. If the estate needs to be opened through probate, we can assist in handling all the legal requirements. If we represent the estate as counsel for the executor or administrator, the fee for our work is a recognized expense of estate administration, and is payable from estate assets before others can take their shares.
You may contact us through our website to set up a consultation or call our office at (603) 224-6999.
Here are some web sites with useful information on Probate: