Knowing what the probate means and involves can help in easing all your fears about the entire process. You might think it’s an overwhelming concept, but it is fairly clear.
Here’s what it means:
Probate is the process that one must pass through to start its validity before any assets can be distributed to all the beneficiaries. The person who writes the will would name the executor whose sole job is moving the will through the probate process. Whoever benefits from this will is known as the, ‘beneficiary.’
There is a step-by-step process that one must carry out. This article will highlight the probate process and it’s four simple steps. Let’s begin!
Step 1: Filing the Probate Petition
Once you have located the will, it’s time to file a probate petition. There are some states where the petition is published in a local or national newspaper. This way, the potential creditors will know about it. In case there is no will in place, then still a petition has to be filed. This is to seek administration of the estate.
Step 2: Identifying Debts and Assets
When the court appoints the personal representative or the executor, they should identify and also disclose the assets. The executor then provides a valuation of the assets. Assets would include vehicles, bank accounts, real estate, cash, intellectual property, personal property, and also pets. The executor has legal control here. Please note that anything owned by the trust will not be a probate asset.
Step 3: Debt payment
Did the deceased person have any debts, utility bills, mortgage, credit card bills, and loans to pay? If yes, the executor should pay all of the debts using the estate assets.
Funeral expenses also have to be paid. In case of no cash to give to the creditors, the executor has the right to sell the assets of the estate and obtain funds.
Step 4: Asset distribution
When the creditors have been paid, it is time for the executor to distribute all the remaining assets as per the wishes of the testator. The probate process can go on for a year, so be patient.
A methodical approach is required; thus, it’s important to hire reputable lawyers like estate lawyers Litvack Dessureault.
Do a bit of research before hiring a lawyer. They should have specialization in such cases. Feel free to check with estate lawyers near you. The firm will take care of the probate of wills.