Many people hear negative things about the probate court process, so they plan to avoid it; but, there are often misunderstandings about what probate actually is and when it takes place. Take a look at the following information to learn more about probate. If you need help probating an estate, or if youd like to discuss probate avoidance techniques, contact an estate planning attorney.
What is probate?
Probate is a court process in which your will is validated and your estate affairs are settled. The executor of an estate (whether appointed by the court or named in a will) is responsible for following guidelines set by the courts and state law. Probate often times takes several months or years to complete and costs money.
When does probate take place?
Probate takes place if you die owning assets in your individual name. Whether you create a will or choose not to do so, your assets are subject to probate if theyre owned in your own name. There are estate planning techniques that can be utilized to avoid probate completely. Avoiding probate typically will save time and money, keeps your beneficiary and financial information private, and gets your beneficiaries their inheritances faster.
What does my executor do during probate?
Your executor will submit your will to the probate court for validation and be appointed as executor so he or she has the authority to act on behalf of your estate. He or she will gather, protect, manage, and appraise your assets; pay last bills; determine whether the claims of creditors are legitimate; communicate with beneficiaries; file and pay applicable taxes; and distribute assets to the beneficiaries.
Talk to your attorney to better understand the probate process. Your estate planning probate attorney will be able to advise you on the best planning techniques that fit in with your needs and your goals.