Once you die, you have no control over what happens in the world of the living. Or do you? In the modern world, the system of law ensures for the deceased to have ways of controlling his or her asset even after death. Specifically, the probate process can help you, if you prepare early on.
First of all, what is a probate? It is the way in which your estate is administered and processed through the legal system once you die. The most important thing to know is that it is not a matter of choosing between a probate and a will. This is because frequently, a probate is necessary with or without the presence of a will. However, having a proper will can make the process smoother and it is the best way to ensure that your wishes are upheld. A valid will is there to determine how and to whom your estate is transferred. A will can also specify your personal representative, who will be in charge of your estate upon your death, saving your beneficiaries precious time.
However, if there is no valid will, the state’s laws will kick in and determine who gets what parts of your estate. The court can also determine who your personal representative will be, because there is no one specified by you. Most frequently, a family member is chosen, such as your spouse or an adult child.
So how does the process work? The appointed personal representative files a “Petition for Probate of Will and Appointment of Personal Representative” to the probate court. Once the court acknowledges the validity of your will, it takes steps to ensure that debts you owe are paid. For example, it could order the representative to put a notice in the local newspaper, so that creditors or anyone else who might think that they have an interest in your estate can make contact. The court will also make an inventory of your property to ensure that any outstanding debts are covered before assets are distributed to beneficiaries. Once your debts have been cleared, the court transfers assets to your beneficiaries.
There are straight-forward parts of the process, but also complications that could occur. Most commonly, the issue of what’s probated where can cause confusion, as laws differ state by state. Another complicating factor is that probate is not applied to all of your estate.
It is best to consult a law office in your area about local laws as well as what is counted as probate property to determine what can be covered in your will. To get more information, visit a probate attorney in Temple http://www.whorleylaw.com/family