You may never hear about probate until the time you face it. Learning all you can about it could simplify the process and help you feel more prepared. While it’s tough to be objective when a loved one passes away, probate may be something you can’t avoid.
In this article, we’ll talk about what probate is and how it works.
What is Probate?
After someone dies, a legal process called probate may be necessary. Probate is needed to distribute the descendant’s estate and cover their debt.
During probate, a relative may be proving that the descendant’s will is valid, identify and make an inventory of the descendant’s property, appraise the property, cover debts, pay taxes, and distribute the remaining assets according to the will or the state law.
Probate usually involves a lot of paperwork and several court appearance by probate lawyers. Lawyer and court fees are generally covered by the estate property.
Overall, probate authenticates the person’s last will and testament if it exists. If not, probate can help with distributing the property according to the local law.
When Is Probate Necessary?
The situation when probate is necessary may be determined by the local laws. In case a person dies without a will or the will is questionable, the probate is generally necessary. The probate process is usually similar in both situations.
How Does Probate Work?
After a person passes away, someone, who that person named as the executor (or in case there is no will, someone appointed by the judge) files the necessary papers to the local probate court.
According to a Probate Lawyer from Orlando, while it’s possible to do the filing without assistance, some courts require the executor to work with a probate attorney.
The executor presents the necessary documents to prove the validity of the will and provides a list of the descendant’s assets and their debts. After that, relatives and creditors are officially notified about the person’s death.
During the probate process, the executor discovers, secures, and manages assets. Probate may take from several weeks to a year. The duration depends on many factors, including the number of assets, questionable points of the will, amount of debt, and more.
The executor has the right to decide what to do with the descendant’s assets. For example, if a large amount of debt needs to be covered, assets may be converted into cash, and the rest distributed among the beneficiaries.
In the majority of states, family members have the right to ask the court to release short-term support funds while the probate process is still underway.
Eventually, the court allows the executor to use the assets to cover the descendant’s debts and release the rest to the beneficiaries.
Should You Avoid Probate?
Probate is a time-consuming and costly process, which can take a serious toll on family members. To avoid probate, you can consider using a revocable living trust, name beneficiaries on your retirement and bank accounts, and take advantage of joint tenancy with a right of survivorship.
Probate is a process during which the descendant’s assets are legally transferred over to the beneficiaries. The complexity and length of probate depend on numerous factors, the majority of them have to do with the absence of will and disputes among the beneficiaries.