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Probate Process: What You Need To Know

If you have someone in your family who is already deceased, you have probably heard of the term “probate.” A court-supervised process, this involves gathering the estate of a person who passed away, paying that person’s remaining debts as well as taxes via his/her properties, and doling out whatever is left to the inheritors and rightful beneficiaries.

probate attorneys are tasked to take anyone recognized as the personal representative of the family of the deceased throughout the whole process. But what really is included in the duration of a probate? Though this really depends on which state you’re in, in this feature, we’ve summed up the probate process in three basic, comprehensive steps.

Filing of petition and information dissemination to the concerned

The fundamental step in the probate process is to file a petition with a probate court. The purpose of this initial procedure is either to admit the will and designate a “personal representative” or “executor,” or appoint an “estate administrator” if there is no will to admit.

Heirs and beneficiaries are notified about the initial court hearing. The hearing notice is also published via any local newspaper so as to inform other concerned people, e.g. The decedent’s still-unknown lender.

Taking an inventory of the decedent’s estate and notifying creditors about the properties

Once a personal representative or executor or administrator is identified, he or she must take an inventory of the decedent’s roster of estate and properties. The list must include real properties and other forms of assets such as bonds and stocks. Non-cash assets can be appraised either by an independent appraiser or a court-assigned one — again, depending on which state you’re in.

After a proper inventory is done, the personal representative/executor/administrator — through the aid of probate attorneys — should now notify the decedent’s creditors about the estate. Upon receipt of notification, a creditor must make a claim on the assets.

Paying of the decedent’s liabilities from the estate and distributing what’s left to the inheritors

Succeeding the filing of claims by the creditors, the personal representative/executor/administrator should now identify which of these claims are actually legitimate. Those identified as valid claims would have to receive payments from the estate.

In some instances, the selling of assets is done just to fulfill the remaining obligations of the decedent.

Once all payables are cleared and any dispute has been settled, the personal representative/executor/administrator should finally file petitions to distribute whatever is left of the decedent’s estate. If there are a last will and testament, the remaining properties will be doled out as directed by the document. Receipts should be obtained after the transfer of assets to their new owners is completed.

The final task of a personal representative/executor/administrator is to file the said receipts and any other pertinent documents. Only then that he or she can petition to the court to release him or her from her probate obligations.

Dominion Legal PLC has probate attorneys who can provide guidance so you avoid costly mistakes through the complicated probate process. Contact us today!