What Probate Is and How It Works
Probate — shorthand for Probate Court — is the court-supervised process of administering a person's estate after they die. This process can be long and complicated, but with the help of an experienced attorney, it can be a lot easier. During Probate, the court will determine who gets what assets, and it will make sure that all debts and taxes are paid.
When someone dies owning assets titled solely in their name without a beneficiary designation, that property must be ushered through the Probate Court.
It is the Probate Court’s job to oversee the administration of the estate and make sure the property flows to the deceased person’s heirs. The court appoints an executor or administrator (often a family member) to pay the estate’s debts and bills, notify the next of kin, and ultimately distribute the assets to the proper beneficiaries.
While the Probate Court’s role is extremely important, navigating the process is often cumbersome, lengthy, and expensive. Most estate administrations take six to thirteen months to complete. The Court conducts a series of hearings to make sure the next of kin and beneficiaries are kept apprised of the progress. Formal notices must be sent. The executor/administrator must file an inventory and accounting, justifying every dime that flows into and out of the estate. Usually, an attorney is hired to help ensure the administration is carried out according to the law.
All of it leads to expense. For a $500,000 estate, combined attorney and fiduciary fees will often top over $30,000. For this reason, many individuals try to avoid the probate process through the use of Trusts.
Losing a loved one is hard enough, but having to go through the Probate process can be overwhelming and confusing.
We understand what you're going through, and we are here to help. Our experienced attorneys will guide you through the process and make sure your loved one's wishes are honored. With our help, you can rest assured that your family will be taken care of during this difficult time. So contact us today and let us help you navigate the Probate process with confidence.
Frequently Asked Questions
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Whether you're planning for your parents, your spouse, or even yourself, The Law Practice of Dennison Keller, LLC will meet you at the crossroads of legal and care advocacy to show you one clear path out of the maze and get you on the road toward your own peace of mind.