Probate & Estate Planning



What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process of administering an estate of a deceased person, resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person’s property. There are two types of probate estates, (1) testate, meaning a person dies with a will and (2) intestate, meaning a person dies without a will. During probate, if a person died testate, the court will distribute the estate according to the will. If a person died intestate, the probate court will distribute the estate according to state law. In either scenario, there are many technical aspects that need to be considered such as notifying creditors, publishing legal notices, appointing a personal representative if one is not named, filing or objecting to claims against the estate, selling and/or distributing assets, and dealing with estate taxes.

Rafanelli Kittredge has extensive experience handling all aspects of one’s probate, including any litigation that may arise from disputes over the probate or the administrative process. Our probate & estates practice includes:

  • Settlement of Estates
  • Probate Litigation
  • Will Contests
  • Guardianships
  • Conservatorships

Estate Planning


Estate planning is the creation of a plan for the preservation and distribution of your assets, both during your life and upon your death. At Rafanelli Kittredge, we offer a personal approach to estate planning. We help you develop an estate plan which meets your particular needs and provides you with peace of mind. We prepare or update your Will, Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy and guide your loved ones in the event of incapacity or death. Our estate planning attorneys will provide you with a thorough review of your assets and your particular family situation and will advise you on the best way to protect you and your loved ones. Our estate planning services include:



To provide direction to your family members and the Probate Court on how you want your estate distributed upon your death and to name a trusted person to administer your estate.


Strategic planning designed for particular goals including, the protection of assets from probate, and to provide for the financial security of your children in the event of your untimely death.


Durable Power of Attorney

To appoint a trusted person to manage your business and personal affairs if you are incapacitated.


Health Care Proxies/Living Will

To authorize a trusted person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated and provide guidance to family members and medical providers regarding extraordinary life support measures and end of life care.


Family Law Considerations

Planning for marriage, prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements.



Preparation of Quitclaim or Warranty Deeds; Individual Ownership/Joint Ownership/Life Estates.



The Massachusetts Homestead Act is a law under which an Estate of Homestead protects a homeowner. A homestead estate provides some protection of the value of the home against unsecured creditor claims. A Declaration of Homestead is designed to protect home ownership from execution and forced sale, so long as the owner or covered family member occupies or intends to occupy the property as his or her principal place of residence.

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