When a person dies, their properties and debts may go through a process referred to as “probate.” If the decedent has assets in their name, such as bank accounts, real estate, cars, or other items of value, that property may need to go through probate. That person's legatees, devisees, or heirs-at-law will then obtain their share of those assets.
Some estates are more complicated than others. In most instances, the process will take approximately six months, so long as there is no contest to the proceeding or proposed distribution of assets. If you have questions about probate or the distribution of assets, an Altus probate lawyer could help. You could smooth out this difficult process with advice from a dependable trusts and estates attorney.
Who Manages Probate?
A personal representative or executor can manage a probate estate when the decedent created a will. The personal representative or executor is typically the person designated in the will to serve in such capacity.
In situations where the deceased did not draft a will, the estate will go to the heirs-in-law of the decedent. The law will dictate who the heirs are, and in most cases, they will be the spouse, the children, or other close relatives. The heirs can decide on an administrator.
The court will then issue a Letters Testamentary for cases where the decedent had a will, and a Letters of Administration for estates lacking a will. In either case, the Letters serve as the source of their authority to carry out the probate-related tasks. An Altus estate administration lawyer could assist when the family needs help establishing authority.
When is Probate Necessary?
When a person passes away owning property in that person's individual name, then it may be necessary to start a probate in order to administer the decedent's estate and ultimately distribute the property.
Individuals who create trusts before they die can avoid having their estate going through the probate process. The successor trustees listed in the trust documents will gain control over the assets and be able to distribute them directly without going through probate.
Tasks That a Probate Lawyer Could Conduct
The probate process can be challenging and technical but there are many ways a probate lawyer can help. The below-listed tasks are just a few of the responsibilities an attorney could carry out to help an executor or administer conduct for the benefit of those inheriting from the decedent:
- Identifying the assets that are part of the estate
- Paying debts and bills owed by the estate
- Completing tax obligations
- Dealing with creditors of the estate during the probate process
- Managing the accounts and transferring the assets appropriately
- Selling real estate during the probate process
It is essential to make sure the estate's administration is accurate and that the beneficiaries recover the appropriate share of the property. A probate lawyer could provide counsel on all of the above tasks and determine whether there are other unique factors that the family should address.
Settle an Estate Conflict with an Altus Probate Attorney
In the absence of specific instructions upon the death of a family member, the distribution of that member's assets might have to go through probate. You could ease this process with help from an Altus probate lawyer. Call now to learn what kind of services they could provide for you.