Probate, a process that involves the administration of a deceased’s estate, is complicated. This process can be long, time-consuming, and stressful. Creditors, executors, beneficiaries, heirs, including liquidators, there are several players involved in administering an estate.
Similar to any complicated area of law, there are often common misunderstandings and misconceptions regarding the probate process. Below, we have complied some common misconceptions that you should be wary of. However, before we delve into that, it’s best we refresh our memories a little.
What is Probate?
Probate is a very common court process. It is usually done to determine the validity of a will and administer a deceased’s estate. If you drafted a last will and testament, probate will involve proving that your will is legally valid, executing your wishes writing in the will and settling all outstanding taxes.
Having a well-drafted will is one of the best ways to make probate easier on your loved ones. After all, your will doesn’t only contain the names of those you want to inherit your assets. It also contains the name of a guardian, an individual who you’d like to cater to your kids if both parents were to pass away. In addition, your will designate an estate executor who is to act on your behalf after your demise. It is the duty of your estate executor to ensure that your wishes are upheld.
Common misconceptions about probate
If I die intestate (without a will) my property goes to the government
If you die without a will, the government wouldn’t claim ownership of your property. While failure to create a will is a bad idea, state law provides a hierarchy of beneficiaries that your property will be transferred to after your death. This is commonly regarded as dying intestate.
A will states how you want your properties to be transferred or distributed after your death, it states the name of your executor (the individual who administers the estate via probate and share your property), and the individuals who you want to inherit your assets after your death.
The intestacy laws of each states provide selected beneficiaries and the court will designate an administrator to supervise the payments of the debts and make sure that the property distributions is done in line with the deceased’s will. The administrator is normally someone who the individual holding most of your assets nominates and the court approves.
Having a will can save your estate from probate:
Even though an individual wishes are well-written in a will, designating assets and beneficiaries of the assets wouldn’t stop the deceased’s estate from going through probate. In fact, probate is the process done to ensure that a will is valid, thus, it doesn’t make sense to day that having a will is enough to bypass this process.
The oldest child of the deceased is automatically the executor
When it comes to the probate process, an executor, also regarded as a personal representative, is required to administer an individual’s estate. In some situations the executor is designated in the will. A court will normally approve the individual designated in the will.
If the decedent failed to appoint or designate an executor, the probate court will have no choice than to choose one according to the criteria established by state law, not necessarily he age of the deceased’s children.
Need a Probate Attorney?
If the estate of a loved one is set for probate, you will need to contact a probate attorney for assistance. As the executor of an estate, it is your duty to handle the probate process. However, we will agree that handling a process as challenging as probate may be too much for you. So, why don’t you hire some helping hands? Our experience probate attorneys can help you and the beneficiaries of the estate overcome the probate process without any difficulties or delay.
This professional will ensure that the probate process is over in no time so that the beneficiaries of the estate can receive their portion of the deceased’s assets. Please contact our office and let’s help you take this burden off your shoulders.