Losing a loved one is not just an emotionally challenging phase of life but is even legally challenging. It can have a major impact on people. It might even get them into facing legal problems. Probate is a legal proceeding used for determining how the liabilities and the assets of the decedent will be taken care of.
In the majority of the cases, the relatives and family members of the deceased generally want to avoid the process mainly because it is time-consuming and complicated. Not to forget, it even drives wedges between the deceased’s beneficiaries. Nevertheless, this process can easily be simplified by following some important steps.
The Basic Steps of Probate
Selecting a family member is crucial for managing the estate of the dead person. In the presence of a will, this selected individual serves as the estate executor. If there is no will, then it is the court that chooses this individual to act as a special administrator or personal representative.
The next step involves validating the will through the court of law. There are state laws handling the process. It is necessary for the parties to follow all the obligatory requirements for notaries and signatures. Here, it becomes important to avail of the services of an attorney. This is to ensure that all the requirements are appropriate.
Next, the inventory and appraisal of the estate of the decedent take place. The heirs should also clear all the taxes and debts owed by the departed. Issuing of all remaining estate assets takes place following the decedent’s will. Nevertheless, in the absence of a will, the state law handles all these distributions.
Some Steps to Simplify the Probate Procedure
There are some steps that can actually simplify the probate procedure provided you follow them in the right way. These include:
Determining If At All Probate Is Necessary
This requires to carry out a simple test. Simply consider whether there are titled assets within the estate that need to transfer hands. If yes, then the estate will definitely require Probate. The assets for which titles should change if they are were possessed individually are automobiles, boats, real estate, and privately-held businesses.
You will have to go through the process if you have plans to sell these assets during the settlement procedure or pass them into the beneficiaries. Suppose the assets within the estate are in some trusts or accounts of the designated beneficiaries. Probate might not be necessary. In case of joined assets, the owners can skip the process.
Nevertheless, Probate is the one and the only way of removing the deceased individual from the property title if the jointly owned estate asset is real estate. There are some states where low-value estates do not need to go through Probate.
Use the Services of an Attorney for Easing the Process
It always works to consider the services of an attorney when it comes to making the probate procedure less complicated. Clerks generally file the vital documents. These include state-specific forms associated with the appointment of the estate executor and petitions. This is the beginning of the probate procedure.
But the whole setup where documents of different varieties should be handled gets easier to deal with in the presence of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. The will that determines the beneficiaries of the estate is filed in the court. Attorneys can even help with this.
Swearing in the Executors
Most of the time, it becomes quite complicated to swear in the executors because of disagreements between the beneficiaries or the heirs. But things can be handled quite peacefully if the will is taken care of by the personal representative in coordination with the probate attorney.
The complicated and step-based probate process gets easier if the court evaluates the estate valuation in the right manner. This entails taking care of the outstanding bills and debts of the deceased and paying them off in good time.
One of the most challenging duties of the estate executor is determining the estate value. Going the straightforward way is therefore necessary for making things easier.
This requires taking up the financial assets like the bank accounts and the sticks first and then working on the tax problems related to the same. The more challenging steps of determining the value of jewelry and real estate, require working with professionals in the field, along with a probate lawyer.
Follow the above-mentioned steps religiously, and there will be nothing that can stop you from dealing with the complicated probate process with ease.