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What Is Probate

Many people are unfamiliar with the term “probate” and may even be intimidated by it. However, it’s not as scary or complicated as you might think! Probate is a legal process through which an estate is administered and distributed to heirs according to the instructions of a deceased person’s last will.

Many times, the probate process can take anywhere from six months to a year or more to complete and is handled by legal professionals. If a person dies without a will, their estate is handled through the court’s intestacy laws. During this process, the deceased person’s assets are inventoried, debts are paid off, creditors notified, and any remaining funds or property are distributed to heirs according to state law.

Probate is easier if you have a Living Trust or Wiclearly set out your wishes. These types of papers help the most by an executor and naming your heirs. An executor is someone charged with inspecting your last wishes. A court will first confirm your will during probate and then authorize your executor to pay all taxes and distribute the estate details instructions you left behind. 

GREINER LAW CORP gives details about probate law and explains probate means and its work process. We are here to disciples of misconceptions about probate law that help people easily give their will to an attorney who easily distributes their property to their loved ones.

You have many questions about probate, so read the article to find out everything about probate that you need to know because we have everything about probate here. Let’s dive in.

What Is Probate | A Basic Overview

Probate is a legal procedure

Probate is a legal procedure court supervises the court for distributing a decedent’s assets and property. Generally, the attorney or estate executor initiates probate. The court validates the dead person’s will, hires an expert property administrator, and pays the estate’s taxes. However, probate is strict, so many people don’t want it. The reasons are different, and common complaints about this process are

  • It Can Be Slow

Sometimes, finalizing an estate, especially if it involves a disputed will, may take many years for the probate court.

  • This Can Be Expensive

Generally, probate has attorney’s fees executor of another administrative probate costate cost, like appraiser’s fees. These fees may increase and add up quickly if the process moves forward.

How Does The Probate Process Work?

After the death of an individual, probate works like the person you called as executor in your will. And if an individual dies without making a will, then the person appointed by a court judge documents in a local probate court. 

Then the executor clears the logic of your will and shows the court the individual leftover property, debts, and inheritance of what he left behind. In this way, creditors and relatives are officially notified of individual death.

Probate usually takes a few months to many years, so the executor must secure, find, and manage your estate during the probate proceedings. 

This process depends on the details of an individual’s will and the number of his debt. However, an executor can decide whether to sell died person’s securities, real estate, and other property or not. 

For example, if Will depends on several cash bequests but the individual property mostly consists of valuable artwork, the personal property may need to be sold to generate cash. An executor may also need to sell some of your property to pay off outstanding individual debts.

Sometimes, immediate family members want that the court to give short-term support funds while the probate process continues. Then, the court ultimately allows an executor to pay taxes and debate and distribute the rest to the organizations or persons named in the individual will. 

Does All Property Go Through Probate When A Person Dies?

Probate law and gavel on white cover background. Law and order concept Probate law and gavel on white cover background. Law concept what is probate stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

No, it is unnecessary, while most states transfer a certain part of the property via an easy probate procedure or without probate. For example, you can transfer up to $100,000 of property in California without probate. There is an easy method of converting any property left to a surviving spouse. Also, the property that is transferred outside of your Will through a living trust or joint tenancy is not called to probate. 

GREINER LAW CORP probate experts guide you upon your Will as all your property in which way goes through probate to your loved ones.

When Is Probate Required?

Probate is not necessary to transfer died person’s property. Many states’ laws show that property worth less than a certain amount can be transferred to heirs without probate. But if the property exceeds this value, then probate must be essential.

If a person dies without a valid will, they are considered “intestate.” To handle such situations, each state has many intestate succession laws that dictate where the inheritance should go based on family ties. For example, intestate succession includes parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, etc.

Certain accounts do not need to follow probate processes such as Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), 401(k) plans, and pensions with named heirs. The same is true with insurance policies as after the policyholder’s death, these funds will be transferred directly to the nominated heirs.

The Probate Process

How the probate process works in court depends on whether you have a will. When there is no Will, the court will appoint a personal representative to oversee the distribution of your assets. And in the absence of your Will, the only difference would be initiating the probate process. 

Death Certificate

probate process

Your attorney or executor will notify the court of your death and consent to a copy of your death certificate to begin the probate process.

Determine The Value Of The Property

An appraisal must first be completed to determine the value of your property. It will calculate everything you do as you go through it. Sometimes, especially in larger properties, a professional appraiser is necessary. This person realizes the process of appraising and collecting the value of all personal, real estate, and household items. 

Get The Will Probated

A court must certify your will to ensure it is signed and dated correctly, as required by law. After certifying, your Will is valid.

Post A Probate Bond

The court will need the personal representative or executor of the property to post a probate bond. The probate bond is a warranty that the representative or executor will follow all state laws of the Will. 

The deceased’s family members can claim the probate bond if they fail. Probate bonds protect the executor of property in case something goes wrong.

Pay All Fees And Debts Of The Deceased

Funeral expenses also need to pay from your property. Once paid, the estate will provide money to collect and pay taxes, cover medical expenses, and handle other unpaid debts that may be owed upon your death. This step requires careful attention, as lenders will likely go after heirs to recover any unpaid loans.

Select Someone To Probate

When there is a Will, a judge appoints the loved one you name as executor. The executor looks at all the processes and settles your property. The court appoints your close relative to fill this role in case of no Will. 

Notify Beneficiaries And Creditors

This is probably the largest task that most personal representatives or executives will perform. This includes notifying and finding any potential heirs and creditors of your death. He must negotiate with creditors to manage the debts using your estate money.

Always ensure that heirs will be named where there is a Will, so notifying them is usually easy to work. Getting creditors can be time-consuming and more difficult, regardless of whether a Will exists. It should be understood that both parts of the probate process become tougher when there is no Will.

Distribute Remaining Assets

When all debts and taxes are paid, any enduring assets will be transferred to the proper beneficiaries. The personal representative or executor shall transfer the deeds to the rightful beneficiary by the Will or the court’s direction.

Close The Estate

The personal representative or executor files a last reckon with the probate court judge. This report explains all debts paid, assets, and distribution to heirs. The court relieves the executor or personal representative of their duties if they find the report in good standing. Then the estate is officially closed.

During grief times, the probate process can be long and complicated. If you don’t go through alone, think about getting our probate experts’ help. GREINER LAW CORP probate experts provide unparalleled guidance and support to simplify your probate process.

What Probate Passed Out And What Not?

probate process

The assets or property that must be passed by probate are held entirely in the name of a deceased person, things like bank accounts, vehicles, or real estate. So, the best way to don’t do probate is to set up a death upon death, or TOD, on these bank or brokerage accounts or real estate. Thus, the property is transferred to the person of the TOD heir.

Brokerage accounts, bank accounts, and real estate can also be jointly owned. On the death of one of the owners on these accounts, the remaining assets or property are transferred to the still-alive owners.

Some other examples of an estate that does not have probate include:

  • Paid-out life insurance policies provided to beneficiaries are named on the policy.
  • Any distribution made by the deceased while he was alive.
  • Any property held in the trust will be distributed per the trust’s terms.

Owners of life insurance policies and retirement accounts must keep their beneficiaries on file and updated. Policies without a named beneficiary may also have to go through probate.

For details on what probate goes or not in your state, consider hiring a GREINER LAW CORP. probate professional that lets you know whether going through probate is good.

How To Avoid Probate?

Before a decedent’s estate is distributed to heirs, the probate process can liquidate. In addition, one can engage in several estate planning techniques during one’s lifetime to protect the estate from the probate process.

To avoid probate, you need to change several of your banking accounts into accounts of “pay-on-death.” Many states even help you to transfer vehicle and security registrations, and real estate deeds, into the death-paying estate.

Opening a revocable living trust is another great example. These accounts hold virtually all valuable things, including your cars, jewelry, and home. Transferring your property to a trust leaves assets and is not far from your property. 

You can explain documents in the way that how you want the estate to be distributed among the heirs. You may name a trustee to distribute the property to the proper heirs after your death with a revocable living trust. You will manage the trust during life and need to appoint a successor trustee to manage the activities upon your death.

Also, you can gift property and probate assets during your lifetime. For 2021, you can gift up to $15,000 to any individual without taking any tension of gift taxes. For example, you can give other property and up to $15,000 in cash to each of your children. 

But even if you make a gift of more than $15,000 to one person, you generally report it on Form 709. That doesn’t mean you must pay a gift tax, but you trigger it when you violate it. 

To learn more about how to avoid probate, reach us. We help you get ideas about saving your property without probating it.

Conclusion

Probate can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. A comprehensive will that names an executor can ensure that your right heirs can get your property after your death. But, probate is not always essential. 

So, to see how state law impact probate in your area, it’s important to get help from an attorney. You can protect your estate from probate by seeking a financial advisor to guide your property planning.  To get more information about probate and your estate planning, contact GREINER LAW CORP today for guidance and support from our probate professionals.

FAQs

Is probate necessary in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, probates are only allowed when the decedent’s assets lack a designated beneficiary. These possessions, referred to as “probate assets,” must be transferred through a state-mandated process for ownership to change hands.

Is probate required in Texas?

In Texas, Wills are only legally binding after they go through the probate process. Additionally, if a Will is not admitted into probate within six months of the decedent’s death, it cannot serve as evidence for ownership of assets listed in the Will. Therefore, to ensure that my loved ones receive what I’ve left them upon my passing, completing this court-supervised procedure known as probating a will is essential.

Why do I need probate?

Executors named in wills may apply for probate, an official document enabling them to distribute the deceased’s estate as stipulated by their final wishes. You don’t necessarily need a probate when dealing with your estate.

How do I avoid probate in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, people can create living trusts to shield any asset from probate proceedings, including real estate and bank accounts. To establish a trust document, you must appoint a successor trustee to manage your assets after passing away.

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