Probate law refers to the process where all the assets of a deceased person are divided according to their will. The whole process is supervised by the probate court. It can include all of the following dealings:
- Proving a will and its validity
- Choosing an administrator or executor of the will
- Totalling of the complete assets left by the deceased
- Paying all the debts left by the deceased
- Identifying the rightful heirs
Probate is initiated when the guardians of the deceased’s will file a case in the court. They need to submit a death certificate along with all the necessary documents.
Probate can be a time consuming and expensive procedure. It is one reason why most people try to avoid it as much as possible. A time period of one to three months is deemed necessary by the court for the probate process to come through. If someone decides to contest the will, the process can get even longer. Also there is a charge to processing the complete estate. You would need to pay a substantial amount in fees to the court, the lawyers and the assessors involved in the probate. However the fees is taken from the proceedings of the estate only.
However, there are certain benefits to the probate process as well. Also a probate might be necessary in certain states. So even if you are thinking about avoiding it altogether you might still need to check with the local court or the state laws.
Since the decision of the probate court is final it gives a degree of certainty to the family of the deceased that the estate is being divided in a legal manner. Also it rules out the uncertainty of the will being valid or not. So even if one considers contesting the will they would know it might not be of much use because the will has been identified as being valid by the courts.
Probate law and estate planning is governed by the state. What might be considered legal in one state might not be so in another. Therefore you need to make sure of the complete proceedings by hiring a good probate lawyer.
When hiring a probate lawyer make sure to keep the following things in mind.
- Choose an attorney who has an experience of handling probate cases. It’s an intricate and complex procedure and requires meticulous attention. Choosing the right lawyer is crucial if you want a smooth legal proceeding.
- Probate law shouldn’t be taken lightly. Make sure you hire only the very best. Though the fees might be a bit more but you can rest assured that only the proceedings from the estate itself are used and you wouldn’t have to pay from your own pockets. Also a good lawyer could actually help shorten the probate period.
- A probate court requires specific documents submitted in the right manner. A good lawyer ensures that your documents won’t be rejected by the court. This would only help shorten the probate period and is beneficial to all those involved in the probate process.