When a loved one dies, it can be an extremely stressful situation for those involved. Not only are the people who are left behind dealing with grief over losing a loved one, but they sometimes have to deal with the legal aspects of the loss as well, such as managing the person’s estate afterwards. Essentially, the probate process is the legal process that entails the settling of a person’s final debts and transferring of legal titles to his or her property to heirs and beneficiaries. The process can be somewhat complicated and would be better dealt with alongside a probate attorney.
The proposed estate representative, otherwise called an executor, should meet with a probate attorney so that they can discuss any information that is needed to prepare the proper notices, the probate petition and other court documents. It is important to understand that the deceased’s will only nominates the executor; the probate court must make the appointment. Once the probate court appoints the executor, the probate process has now begun.
There are three basic steps to the probate process once it has started. The first step is the inventory, appraisal, and collection of any assets that are subject to the probate process. This includes money that may have been owed to the deceased at the time of death, as well as any bank accounts that he or she may have had. The second step is paying any balance owed to creditors, estate expenses, taxes, and bills that may have been owed by the deceased at the time of death. These expenses are paid from estate assets. The third step in the process is formal transfer of any estate property of the deceased according to the will. If there is no will, then the state laws of intestate succession must be followed in order to determine the formal transfer of this property.
As you can see, the probate process is not necessarily extremely complicated. However, it is complicated enough that it would definitely be advisable to contact a probate attorney if you are going through this process yourself. You can find an excellent probate lawyer at the Law Office of Julius C DiFiore; this individual will be able to answer any questions that you might have and potentially help guide you through what can be challenging and sometimes frustrating process.