If a loved one passes away, do you know what will happen when the will is probated? While the concept of probate is very old, the way probate deals with an estate are far from mysterious. When it comes to probate law, each state will have a somewhat different take on things. Read on to find what you can expect to happen as your loved one's estate moves through the probate process.
A Summary of the Probate Process
This summary assumes that a will exists. That being said, those without wills won't escape probate unless their estate is of extremely low value. After the will is read to all those with a concern, your probate or estate lawyer will file the will in your local county probate court. Probate is known by other names in some locations, however, the process is quite similar. These events follow:
- Validation of the Will – The will is examined and a determination is made of authenticity. Only the most recent iteration of the will is considered valid as determined by the date on it. The will must pass several tests, which vary by state. Some of those include examining issues with wills that contain provisions that are illegal in that state, holographic wills, and verification of the deceased and witness's signatures.
- Dealing With Will Contests – Anyone who disagrees with the validity of any provisions in the will may contest the will. This is, in effect, a lawsuit against the estate. Unfortunately, these issues must be resolved before the probate process can be complete.
- The Naming of an Executor – Also known as a personal representative, the person named is responsible for performing several important tasks during probate. The executor works closely with the lawyer to ensure that the estate is inventoried, appraised, and maintained. That can mean making repairs on the home, paying the bills of the estate, and making sure beneficiaries receive their inheritance. If no executor is named in the will, the court will appoint someone. That is often the closest relative capable of doing the tasks required.
- Overseeing Executor Duties – Almost all actions by the executor must pass the scrutiny of the probate court. Executors must keep careful records of all financial transactions and report them to the court. For example, if an executor sells estate property, the details of that transaction must be provided to the court.
When the will is approved and creditors are paid, the estate is closed and probate is complete. Now, all beneficiaries can take ownership of the inheritances. To find out more about probate, speak to a lawyer. To learn more about probate court, reach out to a company such as Skeen Law Offices.