Understanding Probate and its Steps

Your Guide to Understanding Probate and its Steps

If you have a close relative who recently died, it is crucial that you know about probate. Probate is a legal process of distributing a deceased person’s estate to heirs and designated beneficiaries. If there are debts owed, the probate process will pay it off.

Basically, the probate property is allocated based on the Last Will and Testament of the decedent. It is imperative that you understand the process so you will be aware of the next steps. Here are the things that you should know about probate:

designated beneficiariesWhat are the steps involved in probate?

This is the time that you get probate lawyers. The steps involved:
A. The first step is filing a petition. The petition will be filed in the probate court. The court will admit the will and appoint an executor. If there is no will, the court will appoint an administrator.
B. After the appointment, there will be a written notice given to all known creditors as well as the beneficiaries and heirs.
C. The deceased person’s properties will be identified and inventoried. This means that most of the assets cannot be sold or allocated until the process is complete.
D. The properties will then be appraised.
E.    Before allocating the estate, any debts or taxes should be paid first.
F. The remaining assets will be allocated to the decedent’s wishes based on the will. If there is no will, the state shall determine.

What will happen if there is no Last Will and Testament?

If there is no last will and testament, the court will supervise the probate process. This process is usually chaotic because it is time that many individuals will challenge it.

How long does it take for the probate process?

The probate process depends on the case but on average, it will be completed between 6 to 9 months after the court opened it. There are cases that take years because of legal matters. For sure there will be costs like court fee and executor’s fee. Most people consider a living trust because the probate process does not cover it.

What properties are not included in probate?

You have to know that there are particular assets that are not covered by the probate process. These properties are called non-probate assets. Non-probate assets include life insurance policies, real estate, and living trust.

The probate process is long, confusing, tedious, and complex. This is the reason why you should get a competent probate attorney. There are many things that you need to consider when you find a reputable one. You have to check their track record, years of experience and expertise. You can get referrals or recommendations from friends.

You have to take time getting to know the attorney so you will know their competence level. Consider the first meeting an interview. You cannot work with a lawyer you are not comfortable with. The rule of thumb is to trust your instincts. If you are in doubt, do not hesitate to ask. With these things, hopefully, you understand probate even more.