Imagine this scenario. Your loved one just died. Now you have to make funeral arrangements, deal with the family and handle the probate process. Luckily, we are here to handle this process so that you don’t have too! Many dread the thought of handling probate due to the amount of paperwork, the length of time it takes and just the overall hassle of the process. There are forms that have to be filed and deadlines that have to be met. So where is one to begin? The first step is to meet with us so that we can advise you, guide you and ultimately take the burden of handling this process off of you. To enlighten our clients about the specifics of the probate process we have answered some very fundamental questions.
What is probate?
Probate is a court monitored legal process in which a personal representative of a will is given the responsibility of gathering the assets of the deceased and distributing them according to the directions within the will. If the deceased dies without a will then the personal representative is appointed by the court. Despite the simplicity in this description, there is much more to this process making consulting of a legal professional recommended.
When is probate required?
Generally, the probate process is required anytime one dies with or without a Last Will & Testament. Situations such as when the deceased has outstanding debts, when titles are going to be transferred, or when someone stakes a claim to the estate may warrant the necessity of going through the probate process. However, probate wants to be avoided if possible making the consultation of an expert an important a way to possibly save time, money and annoyance of this process in general.
How long does probate take?
Generally, probate can last a year but this can vary depending on the complexity of the estate. Factors such as the amount of assets, the amount of debt and the number of heirs can either expedite or slow down the probate process. If there is a will, this process would be further complicated if someone contests the validity of the document.
How do you file probate?
Probate can either be filed formally or informally depending upon the nature of the estate. To save time and money many opt for filing probate informally if all the requirements are met. As soon as 7 days after the passing of your loved one, the court can be petitioned to grant informal probate meaning that hearings are not needed nor are they permitted. On the other hand, in certain situations such as when the original will cannot be found, when there is not an official death certificate, or when heirs cannot be located formal probate is then mandatory. Formal probate requires the supervision of the court in the distribution of the estate and the involvement of the court whenever an order is required. With either, there are certain requirements such as notice, fees and deadlines that must be followed.
Don’t take the risk of missing a deadline, improperly completing forms or failing to follow one of the many requirements. Let our firm worry about such matters so that you don’t have too. Contact our office today. Don’t maneuver through this process alone. We handle every step along the way always keeping you informed about the progress. Let us take this burden off of your shoulders so that you can go through the grieving process without unnecessary worry or stress.