Probate law and estate law in general is a very tricky task to take on alone. There are many different rules and laws put in place that one must know in order to execute probate correctly. Even after that, one must then go through the steps in the probate process
, hiring a skilled probate attorney might be the first thing you should do. So, jumping right into the question top 3 things you should know about probate, lets first discuss what exactly probate is.
What is Probate?
To start, probate is essentially the process that takes place when the owner of property or an estate dies and determining what is going to happen to that said property. The term probate actually has Latin roots for something proved, and on one half of what it covers refers to the legal determination whether or not a Will is valid. Also it entails the method of how an estate is administered and the overall process through the judicial system. So, probate can still occur even if the deceased left no Will. This process can have a lot of moving parts, a skilled probate attorney can help move the process along to ensure the Will of the deceased is administered properly. Giles & Robinson, P.A. provides a range of estate planning services
What is the Probate Process?
When discussing the probate process we first need to identify all the parties that will be involved. Legal terms define the testator as the person who created the Will and anyone that receives property from the will or the testator is labeled a beneficiary. The person who is designated to make sure the property is administered to the testators Will is called an executor. A testator is called a decedent after they have passed, but a testator when the Will is originally drafted given they were still living.
The court handling the probate case will first examine the Will at hand to make sure it was created legally (it is in writing, the testator or decedent signed and dated it, and if it was signed by a witness, etc.). Also, if the Will lists all of the testators assets and property and if these assets were valued properly at the time, and if it is even possible for the assets to be passed on the way they wanted. An example of how the assets might not be passed on the way the testator wanted could be if they attempted to disinherit his or her spouse. Unless there is a prenuptial agreement stating this demand, the courts will not be able to adhere to it.
The testators taxable estate is all the assets he or she had an interest in at the time of their passing and must be held individually in order to go through the probate process. Any of their assets that say were jointly owned with a right of survivorship then are passed on to the second owner when the testator dies so these will not be included in the probate process. IN addition, any types of trusts, accounts or insurance policy proceeds that a beneficiary can be named for usually dont go through the probate process either. Lastly, personal property, cash, real estate, assets that are held by tenants n common, and any other named beneficiary assets that do not name anyone most times go through probate.
How a Probate Attorney can Help You
Probate laws in every state differ and the processes the courts follow differ as well. A probate case can be very short lived or dragged out over months if the process is not defined correctly. If the estate is large enough, the probate process could take years because of all the checks and balances that need to take place in order to administer the Will the way the deceased wanted it to be. A probate attorney can help you and your loved ones through this difficult hardship by providing their skills and experience. They will be knowledgeable of your given states various probate laws to determine the legality of the Will and how it will be administered. Some people try to avoid the entire process all together because they are under the impression that it can be time consuming and expensive, which in certain cases it can be. But making sure the Will of the decedent is carried out correctly to how they defined it should be an important factor when determining if you should go through the probate process or not. Contact a probate attorney today to see how they can help.