It goes without saying that you may have some questions about the Probate process.
Some people have questions when they’re creating an Estate Plan. Others have questions after a loved one passes on.
Your job is simple: to address any questions and concerns in an efficient manner.
FindLaw defines probate as follows:
“The legal process of transferring of property upon a person’s death is known as “probate.” Although probate customs and laws have changed over time, the purpose has remained much the same: people formalize their intentions as to the transfer of their property at the time of their death (typically in a will), their property is collected, certain debts are paid from the estate, and the property is distributed.”
Although that definition is relatively simple to understand, it’s important to realize that there are a variety of questions that require your attention. By answering any and all questions, you’ll find it easier to understand your situation and the steps you need to take.
Here are several frequently asked questions about Probate that require your attention:
What are the basics of the Probate process?
While this can and will differ from one estate to the next, the basics of Probate include:
- Collecting all property of the deceased individual
- Paying any debts and taxes that are left behind
- Collecting any income that is due to the deceased individual
- Settling any disputes, such as those with creditors
- Distributing the remaining property as outlined in the Estate Plan.
Who is in charge of the Probate process?
In short, this job falls on the shoulders of the executor. When creating an Estate Plan, you will name an executor of your Will. This person is responsible for the Probate process upon your passing.
With so many responsibilities, it’s important to choose an executor you can trust. Making the wrong decision here will only lead to more complications in the future.
Is there any way to avoid the probate process?
Simply put, if you create a will your estate will go through probate upon your passing. There is no way around this.
However, if you opt for a Trust instead of a Will, your estate can avoid Probate. This is one of the many reasons people consider a Trust.
Is it true that Probate costs a lot of money and takes a lot of time?
While it depends largely on the estate, the answer can be yes. For example, if someone contests the Will, it goes without saying that the process has the potential to drag on for many months (or even years).
Furthermore, the longer the Probate process takes the more it will cost. Once again, this is why some people create a Trust instead of a Will. With this approach, they’re able to save their loved ones money (and time and stress) on the Probate process.
What’s the best way to get help during probate?
Are you the executor of the Will? Are you concerned about making mistakes? If you find yourself in this position, you should consider the benefits of consulting with a Probate attorney.
With legal help on your side, you never have to concern yourself with the finer details of the process. While you will still be involved to a large extent, you can rely on your legal team to provide you with the guidance you require during this difficult time.
Don’t Wait Any Longer
If you’re creating an estate Plan or faced with the Probate process, you should not hesitate to consult with an attorney.
Even if you think you know what you’re doing, there will come a time when you realize that you have questions and concerns. By tackling the process now, not later, you will immediately feel better about everything the future will bring.
Probate is not something that everyone thinks about, but at some point, you need to realize that this could impact you and/or your family in the future. By answering the most common questions, you can better understand the process and everything it entails.
There is more to Probate than meets the eye. Fortunately, despite the challenges that you see on the surface, you can deal with this in the appropriate manner by taking all the right steps at the right time.