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Peter C Herbst Jr

Peter C Herbst Jr

  • Elder Law, Estate Planning, Probate
  • Connecticut, Massachusetts
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Peter Herbst advises clients in the areas of estate planning, administration and elder law. Call today for a complimentary initial consultation. He earned his Master of Laws in Taxation from Boston University School of Law, his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Vermont Law School, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Michigan. While in law school, he served as Managing Editor of the Vermont Law Review and taught Legal Writing and Reasoning. He is a graduate of Phillips Academy Andover and continues to volunteer for the school. He is an Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America. He has been featured as a New England Rising Star for 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 in the areas of Estate Planning and Estate Administration by Super Lawyers Magazine.

Practice Areas
  • Elder Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate
  • Free Consultation
  • Credit Cards Accepted
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
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  • English: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Herbst Law Group, LLC
- Current
Gorfinkle & Herbst, LLC
- Current
Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro P.C.
Herbst & Herbst, LLC
Boston University School of Law
LL.M. | Tax
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Vermont Law School
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University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
B.S | Environmental Science
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40 Under 40 Award Recipient
Stars South Shore
Professional Associations
Executive Board Member
- Current
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National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
- Current
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Boston Estate Planning Council
- Current
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Articles & Publications
Informal versus Formal Probate Administration and Real Estate
Peter C. Herbst
Speaking Engagements
Probate Process for Paralegals, NBI, Somerville, MA
National Business Institute
Succession Planning, Boston
Life Transition Planning for Lawyers: The Next Step
Websites & Blogs
Legal Answers
9 Questions Answered

Q. Can you set up a trust for a pet? A friend is trying to make sure his pets are taken care of.
A: Since 2011, Massachusetts has allowed for the recognition of pet trusts. Your friend will need to think of the appropriate caretaker for the pets but the pet trust can allow for financial funding of the pet's needs. As with any trust, your friend want to make sure it is integrated with his estate planning to make sure the trust is funded the way he intends it after he passes away.
Q. Case now "closed" but "Decree & Order of Formal Probate 4/8/18 Magistrate [Name]. Where is this process?
A: Without seeing the actual docket of the case I can only speculate, but the terminology "closed" can be confusing since the probate estate could certainly still be active, it just means generally that no petition is pending before the court since that Decree was entered on April 8. If you have questions you can call the court staff or meet with an attorney to review your next steps.
Q. Probate closed on moms estate over 3 years ago. We pay mortgage under her name. We close on a sale of home this month.
A: Title to real property descends to heirs or devisees upon death. Its very important to hire an attorney now to make sure the probate process was completed three years ago to show that either the heirs or the devisees have good title to convey at closing. If the probate estate is still open, the Personal Representative might have the power to sell contained in a Will, but if the estate is closed the power to sell is in the heirs or devisees. Don't forget to start asking now about the income tax consequences of a sale so there are no tax surprises.
Q. Family probate question
A: If the $3,400 of unclaimed property belongs to the Estate of your Great Uncle that passed away in 2006, the Executor, now called a Personal Representative, of that Estate would need to file the claim paperwork. Since the original Executor passed away someone with priority of appointment under the statute, or by Will, would need to petition to be appointed successor. You should have an attorney review everything to make sure this is all correct because you don't want to spend time and money going down one road only to find out you should have pursued a different course of action.
Q. my grandfather passed with out a will and I am the only heir how do I access his accounts?
A: I'm sorry for your loss. With bank accounts in his name that do not have a joint owner or a beneficiary designation you would need to obtain probate court authorization to get access. There are a couple different types of probate depending on the size of the estate and whether there is real estate involved. You should talk to an attorney to find out which method works best for you. With the life insurance, typically a beneficiary needs only submit a certified copy of the death certificate and a claim form to receive the life insurance benefits paid out to them. Even if your grandfather named you as an agent under a power of attorney, that power of attorney would have terminated at the moment of his death so its odd they would request that (since its irrelevant and lapsed anyway).
Q. My mother passed away in December of 1999 with no will and no executor. The State of MA Treasurer has funds in her name.
A: The three year statute of limitations doesn't apply to the probate of an estate for someone who passed away in 1999. The three year rule started March 31, 2012 when Massachusetts adopted much of the Uniform Probate Code. You should speak with an attorney to see if the facts of your case would allow you to file an informal probate action.
Q. My father would like to give a bunch of land to his town - should he do it now, or when he dies?
A: Generally speaking, if it qualifies as a charitable contribution the advantage of lifetime gifting is that you get an income tax benefit and the property is not in your estate for estate taxes. Plus he might get satisfaction from seeing it put to public use during his life. Everyone's situation is different so he really needs to consult with an estate planning attorney with a strong tax background.
Q. Am I entitl My granfather's estate he left to second wife ( not my grandmother). She died and had no heirs.
A: You should review this with an attorney. A lot can depend on the sequence of deaths. The Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code recently changed these rules and in cases of a second marriage, children & descendants of the first marriage are in fact entitled to a portion of the estate. See Share of Spouse in MGL 190B section 2-102. He also may have had a Will or Trust that altered who his default beneficiaries are.
Q. If I don't specifically bequest property in my will, does it all go to the executors?
A: Executors (now known as Personal Representatives in Massachusetts) are the people you nominate to locate your assets, pay debts, and distribute your property to your beneficiaries. If you fail to designate a beneficiary under your will the property does not go to the executors: it's called partial intestacy. Partial intestacy occurs when your will does not completely dispose of your property and property passes under the intestatcy statute to your heirs at law. There's all sorts of strategies to avoid this. One such method would be to limit specific bequests to just certain items with significant monetary or sentimental value, and then divide everything else into percentages among the people you want to see benefit from your estate. You should review your situation with an attorney who can draft a will and estate plan that carries out your wishes in a manner that is easy to administer.
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Contact & Map
Herbst Law Group, LLC
1000 Washington Street
Braintree, MA 02184
Telephone: (781) 843-5034
Fax: (781) 848-3051