After all the long, stressful days of planning the funeral, contacting creditors, getting your loved one's home in order and frantically searching for paperwork, it is now time to secure the help of a qualified probate attorney, if you haven't already.
In this situation it is easy to ask: What is probate and why is it necessary?
Probate is a process that occurs after someone dies. It is the act of proving that a will was signed and executed in accordance with the legal requirements as set out in the state where it was signed. It is through probate that property is legally transferred from the estate of a person, known as the "decedent", to the rightful beneficiary. To determine who the rightful beneficiary is will depend on whether the decedent had a valid will.
When a loved one passes away there are two questions a qualified probate attorney should ask. The first question a probate attorney should ask is whether they died with or without a will. The answer to this question will let the probate attorney know which process must be followed. Although many of the documents may be the same, it is a completely different process. The second question a probate attorney should ask is what are the assets of the estate. The answer to this question will let the probate attorney know whether probate is even necessary.
When Probating a will:
1. Ensure that the accounts are settled and stop creditors from attempting to collect if there are no monies.
2. Ensure that the title of any of the decedent's assets such as property and real estate would be transferred to the beneficiaries.
Seeking the advice of an attorney who specializes in probate law will help you determine what is best for the estate. If your loved one's property and assets must go through the probate process, nothing is to be feared. The attorney you select to represent the estate will guide you through the necessary steps. This will take the pressure off of you, which is welcome relief at this point.
It is important to understand how the probate process works. The best thing you can do is make yourself readily available to your lawyer by providing whatever information or documents may be needed.
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