What is Probate?
Probate is a process administered by the court to prove the validity of a last Will and Testament of someone who died (the decedent). The decedent’s estate is supervised by the probate court in the county in which property was owned in order to determine how his or her estate is transferred and to whom. Even if a person has left a will, it may not be clear as to distribution of property.
An Executor is appointed by either the family or the court to represent the estate. Probate courts are run by the state and are not federal courts, so the processes in each state may be different. For the most part, there are three major steps that are commonly associated in all probate procedures.
• The court determines what property is owned by the decedent.
• The court will determine how to pay the debts owed.
• The court allocates the remaining property to those lawfully entitled to it.
Why Hire an Attorney to Support Me?
This part of the law is not easy to understand for most people and encumbers a number of legalities that we do not encounter on an everyday basis. Locating the decedent’s assets, identifying known creditors of the decedent’s, publishing notices in newspapers, or paying estate and/or inheritance taxes are just some of the steps to settle an estate. It is recommended an experienced probate/estate attorney is retained to guide the Executor of an estate. Because probate procedures are dependent on the complexity of each estate, an experienced attorney may reduce possible mistakes resulting in additional time and costs to an already costly process during a stressful time when a family has lost a love one.
A person can carefully craft a will or type of asset protection, such as a trust, through an attorney before he or she passes. This can eliminate a pricey probate process that can tie up property for months or even years causing headaches and possibly heartache for his or her heirs. Probate is an overwhelming and intricate process, and having an experienced attorney on your team can make it stress and worry free as much as possible.
Call Attorney John I. Peters, an experienced Probate Attorney today at 740-927-3858 to help you through the process!