Estate Planning and Probate
For over 20 years, our firm has maintained an extensive estate planning and probate practice. We have represented clients to plan simple to complex estates. In that same vein, we have represented clients to wind up simple and complex estates throughout Massachusetts.
A significant part of our Probate practice involves the representation of the personal representatives in the administration of the estates of their loved ones and our attorneys have gained recognition as leaders in the practice of probate law.
Since 2008, our Firm has been representing a Delaware-based corporate trustee in the termination of over 200 inter vivos trusts in the Suffolk County Probate and Family Court. This project enabled our firm to maintain the largest case portfolio of equity matters pending before the Suffolk County Probate and Family Court. We have obtained up to 150 judgments terminating these irrevocable trusts and have guided our clients to administratively terminate an additional 25 trusts.
Our probate practice embraces modest to multi-million dollar estates, both testate and intestate and we strive to help our clients implement the directives of decedents to the fullest extent possible. Our primary objective is to apply the probate laws in a fair and equitable manner.
Thus, we spend the time with decedents’ personal representatives and other family members to understand the decedents’ intentions as expressed in their estate plans and counseled their personal representatives to implement the wishes.
In instances where we represent clients in intestacies, we find that in-depth understanding of decedents is particularly helpful in counseling and guiding personal representatives through the estate administration process; it also helps to foster cordiality among contentious family members.
In our probate litigation practice, we represent fiduciaries and individuals in disputes involving will contests, paternity contests, accounting, breach of fiduciary duty and the identity of heirs at law.
Court Appointed Master and Commissioner
Attorney Denzil McKenzie is certified for appointment by the Massachusetts Family and Probate Court as master, guardian ad litem and partition commissioner. To qualify for these appointments, attorneys are required to take court specified continuing legal education courses on an annual basis. In these capacities, Attorney McKenzie represents the interests of incompetent or unascertained individuals in fiduciary, estate guardianship, conservatorship, and real estate matters in the Suffolk County and Middlesex County Probate Courts as well as the Land Court. Masters and special masters perform specific tasks that the court lacks the personnel to perform. Guardian ad items are appointed to perform fact finding tasks and submit a report with recommendations to the court. Partition commissioners are appointed to partition properties that are the subject of disputes among property owners. If the subject property can be physically partitioned, such as in a recent dispute between two owners concerning a six-storefront property, the commissioner will help the parties to divide the property among themselves. If the property cannot be physically partitioned or the parties cannot agree to a physical partition, the commissioner will sell the property, pay the costs of the sale and report to the court with recommendation on the division of the sale proceeds. This depends on the scope of the court’s order of appointment.
Attorney McKenzie has served in all of these capacities for over 12 years and has received over 40 appointments during this period. He has successfully (or efficiently and effectively) performed the duties and responsibilities associated with each appointment.