After a person passes away, their assets, including personal belongings, bank accounts, stocks, and real estate need to be safeguarded and managed. Although they are no longer with us, business still needs to be taken care of. Bills need to be paid. Money needs to be transferred. Homes need to be protected. The grief process can take a serious toll on families when there is a death. It can be very difficult to deal with the business of settling your loved ones affairs. We understand that help with the legal probate process is only part of what the client needs. Patience, availability, and the willingness to take time to listen are essential. It is our passion to hold your hand through the process to lighten the load that naturally comes with losing a loved one.
Here is some more information to help you understand the process. Feel free to call us if you need more information or have additional questions.
What is Probate?
Probate means that there is a court case that deals with:
- Transferring the property of someone who has died to the heirs or beneficiaries;
- Deciding if a will is valid; and
- Taking care of the financial responsibilities of the person who died.
In a probate case, an executor (if there is a will) or an administrator (if there is no will) is appointed by the court as personal representative to collect the assets, pay the debts and expenses, and then distribute the remainder of the estate to the beneficiaries (those who have the legal right to inherit), all under the supervision of the court. The entire case can take between 9 months to 1 ½ years, maybe even longer.
How do I know if probate is necessary?
You may or may not need to go to probate court to obtain title to property belonging to a deceased person. Figuring out if you have to go to probate court depends on many issues, like the amount of money involved, the type of property involved, and who is claiming the property. Deciding if probate court is needed may also depend on the how the property is owned (the type of title ownership) or if there is some type of contract with beneficiaries.
What if the person who died left $150,000 or LESS?
If you have the legal right to inherit personal property, like money in a bank account or stocks, and the estate is worth $150,000 or less, you may not have to go to court. There is a simplified process you can use to transfer the property to your name. The value of the property is based on what it was worth on the date of death —not on what the property is worth now. Keep in mind, this process CANNOT be used for real property, like a house. Determining whether you have the legal right to inherit property is not always easy. Call us if you need help.
What if the person who died left $150,000 or MORE?
If the dead person’s property is worth more than $150,000, you must go to court and start a probate case. We help clients initiate and complete the probate process every day. Call us today for a FREE probate consultation.