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.
If your loved one owned property or if there were debts associated with the property, you must speak with a qualified probate attorney to see if probate is necessary. Probate will ensure that the accounts are settled and stop creditors from attempting to collect if there are no monies. Probate will also ensure that the title of any of the decedent’s assets such as property and real restate 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 that you understand how the probate process works. The best thing you can to do is make yourself readily available to your lawyer by providing whatever information or documents may be needed.
What is Probate?
There are a lot of terms associated with probate with which you need to become familiar. It is easy to get overwhelmed by all of this new information, so just take a deep breath and go one step at a time.
Let’s begin with defining probate. Probate is the process by which a Will is legally recognized by the Court of Law, resulting in an estate being settled. When an estate is in probate, legal titles of property are transferred from the decedent’s estate to their beneficiaries. The Court determines the recipients of the distribution of the estate from the Will, but will also establish the distribution if there is no Will.
When someone dies and has left a Will, this is referred to as testate. When there is no valid Will, the situation is referred to as intestate.
It is imperative that you understand these and other terms in order for you to fully grasp the probate process. To get you headed in the right direction, read our law firm’s free book, Who Is In Charge After You Die?