Probate is the process of collecting and distributing a deceased person’s assets under court supervision. The Probate process allows for an estate to be distributed to its heirs and creditors in an orderly and systematic manner, but unfortunately it is a process that many of us do not fully understand until someone we love has passed away.
What Happens During the Probate?
The Probate process begins with the filing of a Petition for Probate and the court appointment of a personal representative (PR). The PR is the person nominated by the decedent’s will or the Court to handle the legal affairs of the estate. During a Probate case the PR is responsible for:
- Providing notice to all heirs and beneficiaries that a probate case is taking place.
- Providing notice to creditors so they can file a claim for any debt owed to them.
- Publishing a Notice in the local paper so anyone who has a claim against the estate can notify the PR.
- Collecting estate assets and submitting an Inventory to the Court.
- Submitting a list of creditor claims to the Court.
- Paying the remaining taxes of the estate.
- Providing a detailed accounting to the Court and to the beneficiaries.
When the Court provides the PR with permission to distribute the estate, the PR must pay all expenses and costs of administration and creditor claims first. The PR is also authorized to receive compensation for their duties. The remaining assets are then distributed among the estate beneficiaries.
Do I Need an Attorney?
Handling a Probate can often involve a number of complexities. Sometimes the Will is contested, there is estate property that must be sold, assets are owned in other estates or tax issues. The PR often becomes overwhelmed by the number of tasks they are responsible for and the high standards to which they are held by the Court. In order to make the process run smoother, it is highly recommended that the PR hire an attorney or law firm, such as McGinty and Belcher Attorneys, to assist them with the preparation and filing of court documents. By retaining an experienced attorney, you can avoid unnecessary delays and minimize any potential complications.
Article provided by: Kathy Belcher,
McGinty & Belcher Attorneys