What is Probate and why you need a lawyer?

What is Probate and why you need a lawyer?

Probate legal services from attorney Jonathan H Parker

Probate is the legal process that occurs after someone dies. It is through this process that property is legally transferred from the estate of the person who has passed to their beneficiaries.

What does probate involve?

Probate involves getting everything in order from locatind a properly executed Will; identifying and dealing with property, debts, and taxes; notifying government agencies, insurance companies, and financial institutions; and distributing proceeds to heirs. It may also involve selling assets. There is a lot of paper and legal work at a time when you are dealing with grief and loss.

If you haven’t already done so, you’ll want to hire an experienced probate attorney who knows how to navigate the process for you and minimize your stress. 

Probate — what happens when someone dies?

Your probate attorney’s first step is to determine if your deceased loved one had a Will and, if so, if all the estate’s assets are covered by the Will. 

Let’s look at ensuring the Will is proper so it can be executed:

  • It must be in writing. These days, that means it’s printed from a computer or typed, though handwritten Wills (called “holographic Wills”) are accepted in some states.
  • The Will was signed and dated by the person who made it. 
  • At least two adult witnesses signed it in the presence of the person who’s executing the Will. A witness cannot be anyone who is named to inherit property under the Will. 

Executing the Will

The Will is filed with the Court for it to go into effect. A properly executed Will helps you go through probate with the fewest delays in getting the estate settled. A Will improperly executed refers to one not signed or witnessed correctly and, as such, might be invalid. And, if it is improperly executed, it can cause confusion and complications. Even the smallest error can cause a dispute when probating the estate.

Not all estates require probate, but all should have a properly executed Will to avoid problems.

When must a Will be probated?

When the assets of the decedent are not transferred automatically upon death.  For example, if there is joint ownership of any asset or account, you may simply have to show a Death Certificate.  Otherwise, probate is necessary to transfer ownership of property.  If your loved one had a valid Will, we can submit it to the Court, and upon the Court’s validation, it Will be admitted as such. It isn’t a requirement that all assets go through probate to transfer ownership. But when arrangements weren’t made to transfer assets automatically, the beneficiaries cannot obtain legal ownership without going through the probate process.

Don’t go it alone

The average person might have to deal with Probate once in a lifetime, if that.  A probate attorney does it all the time.  You want an attorney who listens to your issues and concerns, works on your behalf to guide you through the entire process, represents you in Court, and intervene with the beneficiaries when necessary. It is our goal to help you understand what is best for you and the estate, represent your interest, and relieve you of the burdens associated dealing with your loved one’s estate. We represent clients in Florida, New Jersey, and Hawaii. Call now 877.727.5379 to schedule a free initial consultation with our experienced probate attorney.

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