McKenzie & Associates, P.C.  | 183 State Street, Suite 6, Boston, MA 02109  | Tel: (617) 723-0400  | Fax: (617) 723-7234  | business@mckenzieassociatespc.com

ESTATE PLANNING & PROBATE

In our Estate Planning practice, we represent clients ranging from modest to multimillion-dollar estates. We assist families in ensuring that their assets are transferred according to their specific intentions, are protected from creditors and unnecessary tax consequences, and are preserved for the next generation.

McKenzie & Associates, P.C. counsels our Estate Planning and Probate clients to implement their wealth transfer wishes, and guiding them through the estate administration process to foster cordiality among family members.

In Our Probate practice, we counsel families through the estate administration process, helping them to implement estate plans, or guiding them through the intestacy process. We efficiently administer the probate process while aiming to maintain cordiality and civility among family members. We have also litigated contentious matters such as identification of heirs at law, will contests, paternity contests, accountings, breaches of fiduciary duty, and equity matters—at one time our firm maintained the largest case portfolio of equity matters then-pending before the Suffolk County Probate and Family Court. Our ability to bring intrafamily disputes to resolution is evidenced by the fact that we frequently serve as court-appointed personal representatives, guardians, or conservators in such matters.

Click below to learn about some of the probate cases in which we have assisted families, corporate trusts, and other entities.

 

Court Appointed Master and Commissioner

Counsel: Denzil D. McKenzie, and associates.

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.

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Trust Termination

Client: Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Counsel: Denzil D. McKenzie, and associates.

Represented of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. in the termination of 250 small trusts in Massachusetts. The number of filings required in this engagement resulted in the firm maintaining the largest case portfolio of equity matters pending before the Suffolk County Probate and Family Court.

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Multi-jurisdiction Litigation to Recover Estate Assets

Counsel: Denzil D. McKenzie, Timothy A.M. Fraser.

Our Probate & Estate Administration practice sometimes involves issues that must be litigated in multiple Massachusetts courts, simultaneously. Our Probate practitioners are also experienced litigators prepared to resolve such contentious matters. In this case, what began as a routine estate administration evolved into representation of our client in the Suffolk County Probate Court, the Suffolk County Superior Court, and the U.S. federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

In the Suffolk Probate Court, we represented this Estate, in which the decedent’s home was foreclosed upon after death; yet the foreclosing Lender refused to turn over the surplus funds from the foreclosure sale to the heirs. After several demands to the Lender, Attorney Denzil D. McKenzie brought a civil action in Suffolk Superior Court seeking the more than $350k of sales proceeds, relief under M.G.L. c. 93A (the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Statute), and punitive damages. The Lender, a large multinational banking institution, removed the action to the U.S. federal District Court, even though it has offices locally. Nevertheless, our experience in the federal courts allowed us to secure swift results.

In the federal court, the Lender argued that the sales proceeds were not released because of two unrelated creditor claims against the Estate in the Probate Court—our position was that under Massachusetts law, the two claims were no longer valid. Rather than expending valuable time and client funds to file motions and attend hearings on this point in federal court, Attorney Timothy A.M. Fraser returned to the Probate Court on an emergency motion and successfully argued to have the claims against the Estate immediately stricken. We then returned to the federal District Court with the Probate Court’s order, and the federal judge ordered that the sales proceeds be released to the heirs.

 

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