The probate process is the court’s way to supervise and determine the assets of the person who has recently passed. The court’s system can be somewhat complicated if things are not laid out clearly in the beginning. For example, if the person who passed does not have a will listing all their assets, somebody will have to go through and trace every step to determine what assets were owned by the deceased. Furthermore, more complex and involved the matter the more time it’s going to take to complete and finalize the process. Some states don’t require you to go through complicated channels to finalize the process. We’re going to look at what’s involved and layout the necessary steps so people can have an understanding.
The process starts off by working with the Probate Court to announce who will handle or represent the estate. In some cases, a will is set up before death and suggests someone specific supervise the affairs. If in the case where there is not a will, the courts will appoint somebody to handle all the details. The person’s title can vary from state to state but most commonly is called the administrator. If a family member wants to apply for this position they can do so by filing an application and providing a death certificate. The document used to apply as an administrator can sometimes be called a petition. It will require specific information to be accepted and the courts will typically ask the family if anyone contests the decision.
The court will initiate the first meeting to notify creditors and to determine if the family members have any objections. A lot of times the first meeting is just formality and isn’t a requirement if everything is laid out and there is a will of Testament present. However, if there is not a will of Testament and some family members have objections the first hearing is where this should come to light. If there are no issues with the family members, the court can issue the letters of authority or letters of administration right away. This is a good thing if people are looking to make money from a probate property. If you live out of state, you may be required to file a few extra documents to the court allowing a local agent to represent you.
In some situations, the court may I ask for a bond. The purpose of this is to protect the assets in case the person handling the estate makes a mistake costing the estate money. Some people may have gone through their own personal challenges such as foreclosure. The court will do this to ensure creditors receive their share if there is money owing to them. There are situations where the will states no bond is required because there is already a clear indication of its value. If there is a bond issued the amount can depend on the value of the estate. This process is just similar to insurance, unfortunately, costing additional money towards the estate.
If there is a last will, it’s up to the executor to prove to the court that it’s a valid legal document from the deceased. In most situations, this is a simple step because there is usually a witness involved and they can notarize the statement. If the documentation does not have a witness, the court can use the testimony from one in person to prove its validity. Most wills are structured to eliminate this potential hassle.
During the process, the executor or the administrator can open up a bank account under the estate’s name to process creditors payments and pay maintenance fees to people handling the real estate. This stage of the process can take a while sometimes up to 6 months in complicated situations. If someone is going through a loan modification themselves, they shouldn’t count on this to help them out. During this time the executor or administrator can also get assessments done on the property to determine its value if you plan to sell. If you want to sell the property, the court will require permission if the will does not indicate it was intended for sale.
After the time expires for the creditors to issue claims against the estate and the creditors receive their payment. You will be ready to distribute the remaining property to the family members and provide closure to the estate. Once the request to close is approved, the administrator or executor is relieved of their duty and obligations.
In conclusion, probate is a way to accurately assess and distribute the assets of someone who has passed away. The process involves the courts, and they will work to appoint somebody to manage the affairs of the estate. The court will validate the authenticity of the will and may require witnesses to verify. Once the creditors receive their settlement the beneficiaries are entitled to receive the remaining assets, people can sell a real estate property with the permission of the will or the court.