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Norwood Estate Planning Lawyer > Blog > Estate Planning Attorney > How To Bypass Probate In Massachusetts

How To Bypass Probate In Massachusetts


The probate process, which is the court proceeding that a person’s estate must go through after a person’s passing, can be lengthy, complex, and expensive. An experienced estate planning attorney can help structure an estate so that its assets can bypass the probate process as much as possible in Massachusetts. For the individuals and families living in the Greater Boston area, the attorneys at Fisher Law LLC have the skills you need to create or amend an estate plan to avoid the probate process. To learn more about how to bypass probate, call or contact our office to schedule a consultation.

Create a Trust 

One of the most popular ways to bypass the probate process in Massachusetts is to place assets in a trust. A living trust allows a person to place their assets in trust under the control of a trustee for the benefit of named beneficiaries. There are revocable and irrevocable trusts, and each comes with its advantages and drawbacks that an experienced estate planning lawyer can advise on. Once the creator of the trust passes, any assets placed in the trust bypass probate and can be immediately distributed per the terms of the trust document to beneficiaries. 

Name Beneficiaries 

Beneficiaries are not limited just to living trusts and can be named on many different types of assets. Payable on death bank accounts and transfer on death securities accounts are two types of assets where a beneficiary can be named. Beneficiaries can also be named for transfer on death on certain assets, such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts, brokerage accounts. In addition to naming a primary beneficiary(ies), life insurance policies and retirement accounts can also name secondary beneficiaries, who automatically receive the assets in these accounts upon the passing of the account holder. 

Place Assets in Joint Ownership 

One final way to bypass the probate process is to place assets in joint ownership. Joint ownership comes with the right to survivorship, which means that upon the death of one joint owner, the assets remain under the ownership of the other joint owner. Probate is not necessary to transfer the ownership of the asset, as it happens automatically. Joint ownership is typically reserved specifically for real estate assets, such as a primary residence, vacation home, or farmland, but it can also apply to personal property, such as joint bank accounts.

Massachusetts recognizes two types of joint ownership, as it specifically relates to real estate: joint tenancy and tenancy by the entirety. Joint tenancy assets, as noted above, automatically transfer to the other joint owners upon a person’s passing without the need for probate. Anyone can be joint owners of assets in Massachusetts.   This applies to real estate and to other assets.  Tenancy by the entirety is similar to joint tenancy, but it applies only to married couples and is only used in Massachusetts to hold title to real property.

To learn more, talk to our office today. 

Talk to Our Office Today 

Avoiding probate can result in your loved ones receiving their inheritance with less stress and cost after your passing. Are you interested in learning more about how to bypass the probate process? If so, call the office or contact the knowledgeable and experienced Norwood estate planning attorneys at Fisher Law LLC today to schedule a consultation.



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