Everything You Need to Know About Probate

Probate is a process of resolving all debts and distributing assets, and an essential part of managing the deceased person’s estate. You can undertake probate yourself or hire a professional solicitor to help you. In both cases, it is good to know the law and to understand this complicated legal process. You will not have to guess if the probate process will last long or if the case will close quickly. In this article, we provide you a lot of knowledge about probate, legal terms, and useful tips on how to sort it out faster and easier.

When will you get your money?

The deadline for receiving money depends on whether the deceased’s assets were small, or was it a large fortune. You need to know that estates valued under five thousand dollars don’t need to file for probate. But unfortunately, if the assets are higher, you will inevitably need to take this to court. If you think that money will be accessible over a few days, sadly, you are wrong. In order to access the deceased person’s money, you will need to wait for weeks or even a few months. Some probate managing companies can give you a probate advance on a portion of your inheritance, so you don’t have to wait several months to establish the validity of a will in the court. Sometimes when one of the spouses is without the job, and the other dies, they can face a difficult financial situation. The family will not have immediate access to cash for a long time before validating a will. That is one of the reasons why probate is considered an expensive, lengthy, and unpleasant thing to bear.

Can you avoid probate?

As mentioned before, you can avoid probate when the estate of a deceased person is below five thousand dollars. But it is not the only way to bypass it. During the process of planning your finances, you can decide what will happen with your money after death. In that circumstance, you should consult an estate-planning attorney and discuss how to avoid probate. In order to move ownership, you may give your loved one’s power of attorney, e.g., to your spouse. You can decide what will happen with your bank accounts in a special form, or you can place your money on a trust fund and designate an account beneficiary. All these options may skip a will, but it’s essential to talk to a lawyer because the rules may vary from state to state.

Probate records are public

For a lot of people, it is a surprise that data on probate is public. Even though those are your personal matters, you do not have privacy about them, because probate is a state court proceeding. It is best if you know that if someone would want to get information about your court file on probate, there are no obstacles to overcome. The only thing someone interested in your case must do is ask for documents, and it is unlikely that anyone in the clerk’s office will refuse or ask them about the purpose of investigating the case. All the information is a matter of public record: personal representation, assets of a deceased person, beneficiaries, and liabilities. In some states, those records are available online.

Filing on probate can be expensive

In many cases – when the estate is high enough – filing on probate is necessary and requires the assistance of a solicitor. It is evident that it will cost a lot of money, and that the attorney is not your only expenditure. Lawyers in many states charge fees proportionally to the amount of property. After valuing the assets, they deduct an appropriate percentage from this number. Unfortunately, not only great fortunes and properties with a pool are associated with high costs related to hiring a law firm. Even a modest property consisting of a house, a car, and a few bank or investment accounts can result in fees of up to tens of thousands of dollars.

Summary

Probate is a complicated process that protects the estate of the deceased, explains, and details their last will. It is in the interest of the estate’s beneficiaries to consult a lawyer who specializes in real estate law and inheritance law. Each case is individual and may look slightly different, so in matters of inheritance, it is worth using the assistance of an experienced law firm. Although the application of a will is sometimes necessary, some cases can be settled without the probate court participation.

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