A long list of responsibilities often piles up after the loss of a loved one. Distributing assets appropriately, paying debts, and dividing inheritances can get complicated – especially when you are overwhelmed with emotion. Probate is the legal process that happens after someone dies. It ensures that assets and property are passed on to the right heirs.
When Is Probate Necessary?
Probate is necessary after the death of a loved one even if there is a valid will. Probate helps you distribute assets and property to those named as beneficiaries in the will. This process is much easier if there is a will. Without a will, the court will be involved with valuing the estate, determining beneficiaries, and deciding how to distribute assets.
The Probate Process
This process varies if there is a will. The first step of the process is to present the death certificate to the court. The executor of the will, your lawyer, or a close member of the family can complete this step.
Next, a probate bond will need to be posted for the estate to make sure everything is distributed according to the wishes of the will or the court. The bond protects the beneficiaries against any errors the executor might make during the probate process, whether purposely or accidentally.
After, the executor or family representative will need to inform any possible beneficiaries about the death and contact potential creditors to settle outstanding debts. The next step is to determine the value of the property and assets.
From there, you will pay necessary funeral fees and any additional debts or medical expenses. Once this is all wrapped up, the executor or family representative will transfer real estate titles to the beneficiaries and follow the directions in the decedent’s will. If there is no will, you will follow the probate judge’s directions.
How a Probate Lawyer Can Help
As you can see, the probate process can be lengthy, especially if no will was created. Additionally, without a will, you could risk having the court decide important matters regarding your estate. To ensure that your wishes are protected, it is in your best interest to hire an experienced lawyer. Our lawyers at Schmidt Bresnahan Law Group, LLC can get you started on the estate planning process today. We are only a phone call away.
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