WHAT IS PROBATE?

When a person passes away, Probate Law is involved in settling the deceased person’s affairs: final debts, legal title to the property, the dispensation of details of the will and personal requests about items or property the deceased person may want to share with heirs. The person named as the executor of the estate will be the key contact during the Probate process.

The Executor’s primary role is to protect and conserve the assets for the beneficiaries of the estate. He or she will distribute the assets to the heirs. In the event the deceased person dies intestate, that is, without leaving a will, someone–usually a family member—must petition the court to be named as executor in order to finalize the dispensation of property, debts and assets of the deceased. The will must be probated in the county where the deceased person lived.

The Probate process is an extremely involved and time-consuming process.

The executor has an enormous amount of responsibility and conflicts can often arise with other family members or heirs.

Let the Talley Law Firm handle the administration of your loved one’s final affairs, so you can focus on adjusting to the loss. We also offer the added benefit of being the ones to address unpleasant issues that may arise with family members and heirs, taking you off the hook.

Without a lawyer, the Executor is responsible for:

  • Asking the Court that the will be admitted for probate and that he or she be appointed as the Executor of the estate.
  • Gathering together the original will (if there is one) and the death certificate, along with names and contact information of all blood relatives or other heirs.
  • Collecting a complete list of all the assets to ensure they’ve been accounted for,  and are adequately safeguarded.
  • Ascertaining and disposing of all creditor claims before beneficiaries receive any payments;  otherwise, the Executor may be held personally liable if debts are not resolved.
  • Making decisions regarding liquidating or selling assets,7 and determining the appropriate course of action.
  • Filing taxes on behalf of the deceased person, including final income tax returns, and income and death tax returns for the deceased person’s estate.
  • Providing the Court with a report of all activity involving the deceased person’s estate, both income and expenses. This includes an accounting of proceeds when assets are sold, settlements of debts, and any dispensation to beneficiaries. The Court will have to approve the accounting provided by the Executor.

Probate can be a year-long process or even longer if the estate is complicated, or substantial money and assets are involved. Uncooperative family members and other beneficiaries can also delay the process.

Many dangerous pitfalls can trip up someone trying to negotiate the Probate process alone.

Hiring a competent Probate Attorney will relieve the Executor of the time-consuming and often frustrating Probate process.  Turn to the Probate attorneys at Talley Law Firm for help.

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