The Process Of Going Through Probate
It can be stressful to deal with the death of a loved one, but having to settle their estate is going to make things even harder to deal with. This is especially true if you need to go through probate. That's why it helps to understand the process so you will know what to expect.
What probate essentially boils down to is that it's the process that an estate goes through after someone passes away. It's used to determine who will receive assets from the estate to ensure that it is done properly. Many people use a lawyer to help them go through the probate process, since it can be time consuming and complicated to deal with on your own.
File The Petition and Give Notice
Everything starts with filing the probate petition with the local court system where your deceased loved one lived. Make sure you know where the person legally lived when they passed away, especially if they were living with a loved one or assisted living facility, but had their legal residence elsewhere. All paperwork must be filed with the proper county to start the process.
Once the paperwork has been filed for the petition, a notification is sent out to potential creditors, heirs, and anybody that would have a legal claim to assets in the estate. This is a part of a process that a probate attorney can really help with, since they can figure out who to notify and how to do it efficiently.
Create An Inventory and Pay Debts
Everything in the person's estate needs to be put into an inventory and appraised. This is essential to determine how much the estate is worth, and if those assets can be used to cover debts that are owed to creditors. If necessary, assets may need to be sold to cover existing debts and bills owed by the estate.
Assets can be distributed to heirs after all debts and bills have been paid off. If a will exists, remaining assets will be distributed according to the wishes stated in the will of the deceased. If not, then the person in charge of the estate will be responsible for distributing assets to the heirs.
Close The Deceased's Estate
An estate can only be closed after you prove that all debts have been paid and assets have been distributed. Records will need to be submitted to the court before they will officially close the estate.