4 common probate issues

4 common probate issues
  • Ancillary probate issues

One common issue with probate is when estate properties named in the Will are located in different states. When a decedent have properties in one or more states other than where he lived, then a secondary probate called ancillary probate is required. Typically, probate duration varies depending on the complexity of the estate document and the estate properties involved. However, with inclusion of ancillary probate, probate proceedings is further lengthened. The reason being the executor will need to initiate another proceeding for the ancillary probate, while the primary proceedings would still be on going. The dual phase of these proceedings could prove stressful for parties involved. Both primary and the ancillary probate proceedings must both come to an end before the estate can be administered to its beneficiaries.

You can however avoid the troubles of ancillary probate by placing your assets in a living trust document. These assets regardless of what state they are located will not need probate before being given to named beneficiary. You can allow property located in your state to pass to your beneficiaries through the probate of your will, and then those located in other state can be named in a trust. As such no ancillary probate would be required for these assets before the beneficiaries gets them.

Also, you might also consider retitling property located in other states so you and your desired beneficiary jointly hold ownership with rights of survivorship. As such the named beneficiaries would automatically inherit the property at your death without the necessity of probate.

  • Dissatisfied beneficiary/Will contest

It is not uncommon for disagreement to come up among estate beneficiaries during probate. Beneficiaries can hire a probate attorney once they feel cheated or that the probate proceedings isn’t going their way.. As such, each action taken by the executor appears to be nitpicked by these types of lawyers. The more beneficiaries an estate has or the more they complain about the probate procedure, the longer probate can take. The disagreement among beneficiaries could lead to Will contest.

A will contest is a legal proceeding initiated to invalidate a last will and testament. A probate proceeding will remain open for a very long time if a will contest occurs. These issues are typically resolved after lengthy court trials.

Much more, probate issues arises when there are so much beneficiaries named in a Will.  Probate Proceedings takes longer time as the number of estate beneficiaries increases, particularly if they, too, live far in different states or from the personal representative. This is simply a function of the time it takes to send multiple documents back and forth between numerous people who are located in many different places.

  • Wrong estate administrator, executor or representative

An executor or estate representative is the individual named in a person’s will to take responsibility of managing their estate and disbursing it when the testator passes away. When the testator dies, the executor has to take the will to court for validation because handling someone’s estate has to be legal. Once the court receives the will, probate commences. An estate executor is saddled with many responsibilities required for the fulfillment of the estate document. Once he/she cannot handle these responsibilities correctly, the probate duration will likely be longer.

An estate executor is usually charged with several duties. One of which is to distribute deceased’s assets based on what is writing in the will. The estate executor is also charged with registering the death of the deceased, making funeral arrangements, valuing the estate of the deceased, paying any tax and outstanding debt, applying for probate, evaluating the decedent’s finances., placing a deceased estates notice, sharing the estate to the designated beneficiaries, and keeping estate accounts.

Not all estate executors are suited for the job. So sometimes, these individuals usually seek for the help of a probate lawyer who assist them with most of the task.

  • Estate with large debt and taxes

Estates that are required to file IRS Form and the federal estate tax return take longer to administer than estates that don’t have to file such a return. On average, it takes the IRS 3 – 8 months from time the file was submitted to processing the final report. This usual contribute to the excess time wasted during probate. Payment of taxes and a decedent’s debts are major steps required for successful probate proceedings. Transfers of estate or assets to beneficiaries can only occur after settlement of creditors and estate taxes.

Likewise, if other expenses incurred during probate are not adequately settled, probate proceedings can be delayed. These may include income tax, federal and/or state estate tax, medical bills before death, and funeral expenses, among others.

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