Probate process and hiring a lawyer for the proceedings

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Probate is the process in which the deceased’s assets are gathered under the supervision of a court after settling taxes and debts. Thereafter, whatever is left is inherited by the heirs. Probate involves a lot of paperwork and is usually governed in some US states by the Uniform Probate Code. In this article, let us find out more about this process under the following two sub-topics, namely,

  1. The Probate Process
  2. Why do you require the services of a probate lawyer?

Let us take the sub-topic one at a time in the paragraphs that follow.

  1. The Probate Process

It may be mentioned here that when the size of the property is not big, you will not be required to undergo the lengthy process of probate; instead, there is “simplified probate process,” when you do not have to seek the assistance of court proceedings or approach a lawyer for carrying out the process.

Initiating the probate process

If a decedent and the property possess a will is subject to probate, the process is initiated when an executor, whom the decedent nominates in the will, will produce the paper in the court. The courthouse must be the place of residence where the decedent lived or has the property.

Alternatively, there might be an instance when you will not have the will. Under such circumstances, it is the responsibility of the court to nominate an administrator of the estate that belongs to the decedent. In the majority of the cases, the administrator is the spouse or the deceased’s adult heir. Following the appointment of the administrator, he is usually the legal representing individual of the estate that will undergo the probate.

What are the steps to probate?

The procedure can be segregated into the following steps-

  • Filing the petition and informing the beneficiaries or heirs

As mentioned above, there are two instances, when you have a will and when you do not have one. Whatever be the proceedings, the update of the same has to be conveyed to the beneficiaries. However, out of all the beneficiaries, if a single heir objects to any term or condition that is contained in the legal document, the case will be heard again in the court, and the heir can file an objection in the court.

As far as notice related to the hearing is concerned, it is available in the local newspaper. One of the main reasons to do this is to send a notification to creditors if any to stay informed that the proceedings are beginning.

  • Take note of property, make inventory list and inform creditors

The legal individual that is representing the case is bound by law to inform all creditors so that if they have any claim to the estate or property, they can come forward to settle their claim. However, the allotted for doing so is limited, and if any creditor wishes to make claims, he must do so within this stipulated time period.

As far as making a list of inventories is concerned, this will include stocks, assets, the property up for probate, and other assets and property that has beneficiaries. Most importantly, you must find out the value of the assets that you hold. Depending on the state in which you are residing, you can find out the norms. Also, firms like offer immense help to applicants that want their probate process to go on smoothly. Also, the appraiser values are assessed for non-cash assets.

  • Title of the property is transferred depending on the will

While the period for creditors to claim their assets is on, the legal representative will put forward a request to the court so that the title of the assets and property is transferred in the name of the heirs or the beneficiaries.

Under the circumstances, when a will is absent, the intestate succession laws will come into force.

  • Expenses related to debt and funeral has to be paid from the estate

When a creditor places any claim, it is the responsibility of the legal representative to find out and assess whether or not the claim is authentic or he is trying to rip-off the heirs.

2. Why do you require the services of a probate lawyer?

Probate is not a simple process and involves a lot of documentation and validation. And it is best done if you have a legal professional to assist you. Right from the time of validating the will and assessing the authenticity of the claims of the creditors to appointing the legal representative, it requires a lot of experience to carry out the process in a hassle-free manner and this is best achieved by firms like the one mentioned above or any firm that is reliable in your state of residence.

Also, a lawyer will be able to execute the process without making it cumbersome since he is well acquainted with the state laws. He will also know how the local laws and courts operate. However, if the size of the estate is huge and difficult for you to keep track of the same and also has “unusual assets” that have to be managed, turning to a probate lawyer is the best bet.

You will come across many such estate owners that do not approach a lawyer for limited advice. However, regardless of the size of the estate, it is best to hire the services of a lawyer so that you can be sure that the proceedings are being carried out legally and most importantly, you are assured that there will not be any legal hassles in the future should any beneficiary raise an objection. This is because when you hire a lawyer, he assures you of a foolproof procedure wherein you do not get into legal troubles.

Also, the fact that there might be creditors to handle and might have claims on the estate, you can keep at bay the ones that might take undue advantage and claim false stake in the property that is up for probate.

September 11, 2019 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized