Steps Involved In The Probate Process

A death in the family is one of the most stressful events in anyone’s life. Not only is the family undergoing the grief and trauma of losing a loved one, but it also has to take care of funerary arrangements (which can often be fraught with emotional highs and lows) as well as deciding what to do with the deceased person’s belongings as well as debts. After a person passes away, his/her assets will usually get divided and distributed to whoever is named in this person’s will. This process is called a probate. All estates must be legally processed in a specific manner, but in general, these are the usual steps that a probate lawyer could help dealing with during the probate process:

El Paso, Texas

1). Identifying a personal representative – if the deceased person’s will specifically appoints someone, then this person will be appointed to be the estate’s representative. If the deceased died without leaving a will, the court will then appoint someone to represent the estate, usually a living family member who volunteers to take up the responsibility. This person then will be sworn in and file the Petition for Probate of Will and Appoint of Personal Representation. This automatically starts the probate process.

2). Heirs and creditors must be notified of the death – state laws vary, but usually notification must be done in a notice of death in the local newspaper. This death notice informs any possible creditors of the deceased person that the probate process has been started. Creditors then would know whom to contact in terms of the estate representative as well as any assisting attorneys for any outstanding debts that need to be paid.

3). Preparing a record of all the estate’s assets – the estate representative then gets on the next task of making a list of all the estate assets so that its total value can be determined to check if there will be enough money to pay creditors.

4). Distribution of estate’s assets – the deceased person’s assets then can be distributed, usually starting with creditors first, then funeral expenses, outstanding debts and taxes and finally all other remaining claims. The last step of the probate process is to distribute the remaining assets or money to the heirs. When this is accomplished, the probate is considered closed and completed.

When To Hire Legal Help For The Probate Process
The probate process is usually pretty simple and straightforward. Nevertheless, complications can arise, in cases where the deceased person owned property in another state. This would mean there would be two probate processes going on in two different states. Additionally, a probate only covers specific estate items. A house that belongs to both the deceased person and his/her spouse would not be included in the probate process because only property that was owned solely by the deceased person would be included in that person’s estate and probate process. Thus, to ensure a smooth procedure and a favorable outcome for all parties involved, sometimes it is prudent to hire someone who is experienced with the probate process.


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