All of the real and personal property that you own will be transferred upon your death to others. For that reason, the laws governing the succession of property are a necessary corollary to the concept of private ownership of property. The law requires that upon death, title to the decedent’s property must vest in someone. In other words, someone must acquire the right to possess, use, or transfer the property. The decedent can direct passage of property after death by Will, subject to certain limitations imposed by the state. If no valid Will has been executed, the decedent is said to have died intestate, and state intestacy laws prescribe the distribution of the property among heirs or next of kin. In addition, a person can transfer property through a trust. The owner of the property transfers legal title to a trustee, who has a duty imposed by law to hold the property for the use or benefit of another (the beneficiary).
Our skilled attorneys routinely plan and draft estate planning documents and assist clients with the probate process that follows death. We work with you to preserve, administer, and transfer your wealth according to your wishes. We also understand the importance of maintaining lasting relationships with our clients in order to best serve their changing needs. Our experienced attorneys will guide the development of all components of an estate plan, including life insurance, methods for funding the education of children, charitable planning, family business succession planning, planning for distribution of IRAs and pension benefits, and coordinating estate planning among multiple generations. We work with clients in establishing and administering trusts, and are experienced in representing executors, trustees, and others before the Probate Court in probate estates, conservatorships, guardianships, and trust actions. Our experienced litigators also handle disputed probate proceedings, including beneficiary disputes, will contests, trust accounting, and related proceedings.