If you are an estate owner, one of the things you ought to be conversant with is probate. A good probate attorney will advise that you pan an estate that by passes this process. Why? Because it isn’t worth the stress. Planning an estate that is subject to probate is almost synonymous to putting your family and loved ones through excruciating stress. Are you aware that this process can drain the finances of your loved ones? That’s not all. There are other downsides of this process.
Before we go further, what is probate?
Probate is simply a legal process that kicks-off after the death of an estate owner. This process is carried out to determine how the assets of the deceased will be shared and managed.
Let’s dive into the crux of this article. What are the 9 steps to will a probate?
- Appointing an estate executor or administrator
An estate executor is an individual who acts on behalf of the estate owner after death. If the estate owner fails to select an executor in his or her will or if the estate owner died intestate, it is the job of the probate court to select an administrator.
- File a petition to kick-start the process
The second step to take is to file a petition in the county where the decedent resided at the time of death. This is the duty of the estate executor. Alongside the petition, you will also be required to file a valid will, if there is any, including a death certificate. The court will the set the date for a hearing to certify the executor. Once done, the probate process will begin accordingly.
- Send notice
You are required to notify all creditors, beneficiaries, and heirs, of the development.
- Assets appraisal
The next step is to obtain, inventory, and review all properties of the decedent that are prone to probate and then submit them to the surrogate court. Such assets are:
- Real estate
- Bank accounts
- Retirement account
- Listing the properties of the deceased
At this point, it is the duty of the estate executor or administrator to make a list of all the deceased’s properties and have them reviewed accordingly
- Take care of debts
It is the job of the estate executor to obtain any cash that is owed to the estate. In addition, it is also the job of the executor to pay all outstanding debts to creditors. Before you do this, it is best you carry out a thorough check to ensure that the creditors claim are true.
- Pay due taxes
Estate taxes can be quite expensive. It is the job of the estate executor or administrator to review the due taxes of the deceased (property and estate tax) and make payment accordingly.
- Share assets to designated beneficiaries
This is the best aspect of the whole process where everyone, especially the estate beneficiaries, get to smile. After all outstanding debts and due taxes have been settled, the remaining assets are to be distributed to the designated beneficiaries.
- Close the estate
After all is done, the executor will have to tender receipts and records of everything to the probate court and request that the estate be closed. Afterward, the individual is to request for his or her release from the duty of executor.
A probate attorney is a state listened individual whose duty is to assist estate executors or administrators, beneficiaries, and estate owners. A probate attorney can help in several areas of the estate planning and probate process. They can help in creating a will, one that avoids the complicated probate process. They can offer valuable advice to estate owners, executors, and family members.
Due to their enormous experience in the field, including their familiarity with probate court proceedings, a probate attorney is your go-to person when embroiled in certain probate or estate planning issues. Furthermore, probate attorneys are very conversant with state probate laws including estate planning laws. This denotes that, they can seamlessly walk you through the probate process. As an estate executor, they can tell you what to expect, how to avoid major roadblocks that could derail the process, what to do to make the process faster, how to go about sorting out the deceased assets and how to settle unpaid debts and taxes, etc.
Do you need a Probate Attorney?
If you are eager to plan an estate that avoids probate, a probate attorney can be of great assistance. In fact, when it comes to estate planning and probate, you’ll need a good probate attorney by your side always. If you are looking for a good probate attorney to handle your probate or help you plan your estate, don’t look further. We have the best probate attorneys. Contact us now!