The probate process can be long; depending on the circumstances surrounding the estate plan. It can take a year or few months for this process to be completed. During this period, it is the duty of the estate executor to locate, secure, and manage your estate. It is also his job to find all owed debts and make plans on how to settle them. If required, the executor may decide to sell your part of the estate to raise money to balance expenses or debt; though this depends on what is written in your will, including the amount you owe.
The following are processes involved in probate:
- Taking inventory of all assets.
The step to probation of an estate in probate court is counting up all asset owned by the decedent or the estate and properties being mentioned in the estate document. The estate document usually probated is the last will, as such, the executor should ensure that all named assets contained therein are collected and counted. The inventory taken should account for all debt owed by deceased including income taxes, mortgages, healthcare and credit card bills. While it is very important to have all the assets owned by the decedent, the values of each at the date of death should be recorded. Other important documents named after the deceased such as life insurance, bank accounts, broker statement, stock and bonds, cooperate accounts should be included in the inventory.
- Initiate probate proceeding.
After all essential document needed for the implementation of the deceased estate plans have being collected, probate proceeding can be initiated in the probate court. A probate attorney or an estate lawyer would be require to open this process in the probate court. The probate attorney would need all detailed documents on the estate plan. Once satisfied, the attorney would notify the beneficiaries of the estate as named by the decedent in the Last Will. Also required to be for the probate is the named personal representative or estate executor.
Note: In cases where the decedent do not leave behind a valid estate document such as Last Will, the decedent heir would need to sign and review document to initiate a probate proceeding. These documents include, probate initiation, order appointing executor, order waiving bond, etc. the probate process commences when all these documents have been signed.
- Clear debt and other expenses.
Your estate executor would prepare and file your personal income tax return on state and federal taxes for the year preceding your death. Also, the tax incurred on your estate would be obtained. This is achievable on large estate with state taxes imposed.
To successfully settle your estate, all fees incurred from court proceedings, payment of services rendered by attorneys, executors, etc. must be paid. Your personal representative is fully aware that this payment precedes the finally settlement of your estate and transfer of assets to chosen beneficiaries. As such, in cases of inadequate funds, the executor can raise cash from sales and liquidity of estate properties.
- Estate allocation to named beneficiaries.
After submission of the estate documents to the probate court, value estimation of the deceased estate, debt, taxes and other expenses paid, the estate lawyer or executor goes ahead to distribute assets to right candidates.
- Personal representation are vital to the implementation of estate plan.
- Your personal representation would ensure that your desired beneficiaries gets your estate.
- Once involved in your estate plan, probate lawyer would ensure that no family feud come up probate of the estate.
- Estate plans can be made to reflect and implement your mid, short and long term plans. However, you can speak with an estate lawyer to know suitable documents that would reflect these plans.
- The chances of success for implementation of an estate plan increases when you chose the right representative.
- Since estate plans are made in preparation for any uncertain life occurrences, you need the right lawyers to ensure your desires and plans are duly implemented.
- Probate lawyers would guide you through any probate process. Also, the estate lawyer can step in a play the role of the executioner of your estate plan.
- While other estate document such as last will may go through probate before it can be implemented, the living trust allows transfer of assets without any probate process.
Contact a probate attorney
A probate attorney is need for a smooth probate process and also implementation of your estate plans. The attorney can also act as an executor or personal representative for your estate. Probate duration of an estate plan largely depends on the complexity of the estate, and also inadequacies in estate document. Either way, an estate attorney would help you from creation of estate plan to its implementation.
Contact a probate attorney today.