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If you die with or without a will, your estate will go through a process called probate. The probate process is a very stressful, expensive and time-consuming process which a lot of wise estate owners try to avoid.

This process can make it difficult for the beneficiaries of your estate to receive your assets in time and move on with their various lives. You can plan an estate that avoids this stringent process. However, to do so, you will need the help of a competent estate planning attorney.

Also, if you have issues with the probate Buffalo, NY, process, don’t hesitate to contact a probate lawyer, Buffalo, NY.

Take us take a good look at what probate is.

What is Probate?

Probate is a process that is carried out to determine the validity or authenticity of a will. This legal process, which can be very challenging, expensive, and lengthy, also refers to the administration of a deceased will or the estate of an individual without a will.

After the death of an estate owner, the court chooses either an executor indicated in the will or an administrator (if there exist no will) to administer the probate process. The probate process involves obtaining the assets of a deceased individual to settle all outstanding debts remaining on the individual’s estate, and sharing the assets of the estate to the designated beneficiaries.

Probate Without a Will

When an individual dies without creating a will, he is said to have died intestate. An intestate estate is also one where the will tabled before the court is said to be invalid. The probate process for an intestate estate is quite different from that of an estate with a will. Assets distributed in this case are usually based on the state laws. If a decedent lacks assets, probate may not be required.

Generally, a probate court proceeding usually begins with the nomination of an administrator to supervise the estate of the decedent. This individual acts as an executor, collecting all legal claims against the estate and settling all unpaid debts.

The estate administrator is charged with locating any legal heirs of the decedent, including surviving spouses, children, and parents. The probate court will evaluate what assets needs to be shared among the legal heirs and how they should be shared. The probate laws in a lot of states divide property among the surviving spouses and children of the decedent.

How to Prevent probate

Probate is a costly, time-consuming and stressful process that you should avoid at all cost. As an estate owner, the best way to ensure that your loved ones don’t experience the difficult probate process is by creating a trust and outing you assets in the trust.

The executor

A will normally designate a legal rep or executor accepted by the probate court. This individual is charged with the duty of locating and monitoring all the assets of the decedent. The executor has to evaluate the value of the estate by adopting the date of death value of the alternate valuation date, as stated by the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).

Not all assets are subject to probate. However, those assets that are subject to this process come under the supervision of the probate court in a location where the decedent resided at death. The exception is real estate. Probate for real estate may need to be moved to any country in which the real estate is based.

It is the duty of the executor to settle any taxes and debt owned by the decedent from the estate proceedings. Creditors usually have a little amount of time (around a year) from the date of death to table any claim against the estate for money owed to them.   Clams that are refused by the estate executor can be taken to court where a probate judge will have the ultimate day regarding the matter.

In addition, the estate executor is responsible for filing the ultimate, personal income tax returns on behalf of the decedent. All pending estate taxes can also become due within a year from the death of the estate owner.  After inventorying the estate, the value of the assets are determined and debts are settled. Afterward, the executor will then request for go-ahead from the court to share whatever is left of the estate to the designated beneficiaries.

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