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Probate is necessary when an individual passes away with assets solely in their name. So, if the person owned assets together with another person (for example, a spouse), those assets usually transfer directly to the surviving joint owner. Assets with a designated beneficiary (like life insurance policies or retirement accounts) also generally pass directly to the beneficiary. However, in the event of the individual’s demise without joint assets or designated beneficiaries, their assets will require probate.

What is a Probate

Probate is a legal process that occurs after an individual’s death. During probate, a court oversees the distribution of the deceased’s estate to their heirs. 

For many individuals, the probate process can be intimidating and confusing. 

Often, people are unsure of when a probate is necessary and what it entails. 

Wills 4 Less will explore when a probate is required and what occurs during the process.

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What Occurs during Probate?
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During probate, the court oversees the distribution of the deceased’s assets.

The executor (i.e., the person named in the will to manage the estate) is responsible for initiating the probate process.

This typically involves filing a petition with the court and providing a copy of the deceased’s will.

If the individual did not have a will, the court will appoint an administrator to manage the estate.

Once the probate process kicks off, the executor assumes various responsibilities. They are required to take stock of the deceased’s assets, settle any outstanding debts and taxes owed by the estate, and distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries stated in the will. The court supervises these actions to ensure proper fulfillment of the executor’s duties. Probate can be a time-consuming process, often extending over several months, or even years, depending on factors such as the complexity of the estate and any legal disputes that may arise. Executors are entitled to a fee for their services during probate, typically calculated as a percentage of the estate’s value.

Is Probate Always Necessary?

In some cases, probate may not be required.

For example, if the deceased had a small estate, some states allow for simplified probate procedures.

These procedures may allow for a faster and less expensive process.

Additionally, some assets may pass directly to heirs without going through probate.

For example, assets held in a revocable living trust may pass directly to the beneficiaries named in the trust.

Probate can feel like a complex and overwhelming journey for those unfamiliar with it. However, gaining insight into when probate is required and its intricacies can relieve some of the uncertainty. If you’re uncertain about the necessity of probate in your circumstances, seeking guidance from a qualified attorney can be immensely beneficial. An attorney will skillfully guide you through the probate process, ensuring proper distribution of your loved one’s assets.

Find out more today and request a call back to discuss your requirements.

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