Understanding Probate Can Make A Difficult Time Easier
Losing a loved one is a difficult and emotional situation on its own. Working through the probate procedure can add another layer of stress to this scenario if you don’t understand the process or its requirements.
The experts at We The People USA can help you finalize your loved one’s wishes as they would have wanted. We can also help you to put certain parameters in place so that probate will go smoothly for those you leave behind.
Some Basic Facts
Probate is the process of moving the estate of a deceased person through the legal system so that beneficiaries receive property or other assets that belonged to the deceased. This legal action will happen whether or not there is an existing will, although it is infinitely easier and faster if one has been created. If no will exists, the state determines how the assets are distributed.
There are many aspects of the probate process, but the basic purpose is to pay off any debts still owed at time of death and to transfer remaining assets to beneficiaries. This is done in each state’s probate court, which means processes can differ state to state, but there are certain basic procedures.
- Swearing in a personal representative, or executor, who has the right to handle all estate affairs. Generally, this person will be stated in the will. If not, then family members can request that they be appointed the personal representative.
- Informing creditors, heirs and the general public of the death.
- Taking inventory of the deceased’s property.
- Paying outstanding bills and taxes and then distributing the estate’s assets to heirs or beneficiaries.
Types of Probate Paperwork
There is some standard legal paperwork involved in this process.
- Letters of Administration or Letters Testamentary – This is a certified document given to the estate’s personal representative by the probate court stating the representative has the authority to act on behalf of the deceased’s estate.
- Petition for Probate of Will and Appointment of Personal Representative – The personal representative files this document with the probate court to begin the process. If there is a will in place, the court will then acknowledge its validity which is known as granting probate.
Non-probate assets are those things that were owned jointly with another person or persons and which automatically pass to beneficiaries upon death, eliminating the need for probate.
Some examples of these assets include life insurance policies, a revocable or irrevocable trust, a bank account that names a specific beneficiary or has a “payable on death” option, and bank or brokerage accounts that are “jointly owned with right of survivorship.”
Don’t walk through this complicated process alone. Search our store directory to find a We The People USA Office near you, and let our probate experts assist you with their knowledge and support.
Contact your local store for availability.