Elder Law and Estate Planning provided to Stoughton MA.

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For excellent legal counsel related to elder law, estate planning and trust administration and probate for the area of Stoughton, Massachusetts, please contact attorney Brigitte von Weiss. More information is available at http://vonweisslaw.com.

The author Brigitte von Weiss of VON WEISS LAW OFFICE is an estate planning lawyer and elder law attorney in Easton, MA. She is often asked ” who can be the personal representative (formerly known as executor)?”

The Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (MUPC) became effective as of March 31, 2012.

Under the MUPC, the person in charge of the estate of a deceased person is called a “personal representative.” Before the MUPC, attorneys used the terms “executor”–if a person died with a Will–and “administrator”–if a person died without a Will.

Whether or not there is a Will, § 3-203(a) of the MUPC has a “priority ladder,” which establishes who has priority to be appointed as the personal representative. Generally, the order is as follows: (1) the person named in the Will, (2) the surviving spouse who is also a devisee, (3) other devisees, (4) the surviving spouse, (5) other heirs of the decedent, (6) if no known spouse or next of kin, a court-appointed public administrator.

As a side note, a “devisee” is the term referring to a person who is to inherit property under the Will, “heirs of the decedent” are those who would inherit in the absence of a Will, and “decedent” is the term referring to the person who died.

No one can force anyone to serve as the personal representative even if they are named in the Will. A person with priority may decline to serve as personal representative. Moreover, a person named as personal representative in the Will can decline and nominate a successor if and only if the Will explicitly states that the named personal representative has the power to nominate a successor.

Individuals often referred to themselves as the personal representative (or executor) based on being named in the Will. However, in actuality, an individual is not the personal representative unless and until appointed by a court of proper jurisdiction.

If someone decides to serve as a personal representative, they should retain an attorney to assist and advise as most individuals are unfamiliar with the responsibilities of a personal representative. Legal representation unquestionably minimizes the prospect of getting sued by the devisees and heirs of the estate.

Moreover, do not let the law determine who will be in charge of the estate. The individual should instead have an estate plan and name a personal representative in the person’s Will. The individual also should name a successor personal representative (backup person) and/or have language in the persons Will giving the personal representative the power to nominate a successor of his or her choosing.

Nothing in this article should be considered legal advice as this is a complicated area of the law.

Contact Info:
Name: Brigitte von Weiss
Organization: The Von Weiss Law Office
Address: 50 Oliver Street, Easton, Massachusetts 02356, United States
Phone: +1-508-238-3005

For more information, please visit http://vonweisslaw.com/index.html

Source: PressCable

Release ID: 376060