Common Questions About the Probate Process
When someone dies, it can be difficult to figure out how to manage their property and affairs. And when you are going through a period of intense mourning, it can be even more difficult. In theory, the probate process is designed to allow for the smooth transfer of property to the designated people. However, probate can be extremely complex, and many people don't really understand what the process entails. Because of this, this article is going to look at a few common probate questions.
What exactly is probate? Probate is the court-supervised process of managing the property of a decedent. This process involves distributing and overseeing property according to the decedent's wishes. During this process, the will be read and authenticated, heirs and beneficiaries will receive their designated property, and an executor will be determined to handle the affairs of the decedent. Of course, this assumes that everything goes according to plan, which isn't often the case in life. For instance, if a will is contested, then there can be lengthy delays while probate attorneys sort out the various legal issues involved in this process.
Who is in charge of handling probate? During the probate process, an executor will be determined. This person is usually determined by the will or by probate law. Once determined, the executor is responsible for ensuring property is distributed properly according to the decedent's will. If a formal probate process is not required, family and friends will generally split the responsibilities of distributing property and paying off debts. Oftentimes, after a death, people will consult a probate attorney to ensure all affairs are managed properly and efficiently.
Can probate be avoided? Probate is unnecessary if property qualifies for state exemption. But if an estate is worth more than $150,000, it must be probated. However, in other cases, there are a few things to do to avoid or speed up the probate process. First, the creation of a living trust will transfer property ownership to a trust. The trustee will transfer the appropriate property to beneficiaries when the grantor passes. Another option is to choose a joint tenancy, which allows people to share the decedent's property equally. And lastly, naming a beneficiary will simply transfer all property to the designated person. Wills and trusts can be great tools to at least speed up the probate process. However, a probate lawyer can be hired to further expedite the process and ensure all matters are handled correctly.
The probate process can be confusing and frustrating. Fortunately, a probate attorney can offer guidance and advice during this process. With the right experience and knowledge, a probate attorney can ensure all affairs are handled correctly and the process goes as quickly as possible.