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October 04, 2017

Reasons Why Families Have To Go Through Probate

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Divorce Lawyer Rockville MD

When a loved one dies, it may be necessary for the family and heirs to go through probate. While probate is often thought to be a long process that costs a lot of money,  it is usually completed in a reasonable length of time and without being too costly. Probate is the court-supervised process that happens after a person passes away. Distribution and administration of the decedent’s estate occur in the probate process.

Having to deal with the loss of a loved one is already difficult and emotionally challenging enough, let alone having to handle the probate process and administration of a loved one’s estate. You can ease your burden by having a divorce lawyer Rockville MD guide you through the probate process. An experienced family law legal professional is committed to helping you navigate the procedure and providing you with the resources needed to do so. These attorneys have the knowledge and skillsets to assist you with your probate needs properly.

Why exactly do some families have to go through the probate process?

► Probate verifies the validity of the decedent’s will

To be considered valid, a Last Will and Testament must be signed by two witnesses of legal age (18 or above). This is generally true of any provisions, amendments, or other supplements added to the will after it is first written. In most cases, a will must be typed to be considered valid, but a handwritten version may be accepted in certain circumstances. Those who are named as heirs in a will, or should have been named as such, will be contacted and given the opportunity to challenge the will, if necessary.

► Probate allows for a thorough accounting of an estate

If a person leaves a will upon death, the executor (will administrator) named in that document can start the process of inventorying assets and taking care of any outstanding debts. An executor may also put a fair market value on assets for tax purposes. If there is no will, an administrator will be named to handle those duties. Once debt and tax matters are taken care of, the remaining assets can then be handed down to beneficiaries.

► Probate provides an orderly forum for resolving disputes

The death of a loved one can be an exceptionally emotional and traumatic event. It can be easy to get into angry arguments and shouting matches, causing disputes among family members and proceedings that are less than calm in nature. The probate process allows those who have questions or issues with any part of a will to address them formally with the court. Probate judges may make rulings on their own, ask that individuals reconsider their challenges, or have the matter resolved through mediation.

► Probate allows for the timely transfer of assets

Whether a person has a will or not, going through probate means that family members and others get their inheritance promptly. If a person has been divorced or has a complicated family situation, it may not always be clear who should receive an asset. Divorce lawyers often aim to separate a couple’s assets for this reason, but in some cases, it is not easy to do so. Probate allows a judge to use state law to make sure that whoever has the most substantial claim or who may benefit the most from an asset is the one who gets it.

► Creditors will have a contact person

When a person passes away, it may be harder for a creditor to collect on any debt they are owed if an estate doesn’t go through probate. When it does go through probate, creditors can talk to the executor of the estate lawyer. An executor may also be able to close credit accounts as part of the probate process.

As a general rule, probate provides an orderly way to settle a person’s affairs. The executor may be able to work with the court to properly file income taxes, pay debts, and ensure that disputes related to property or other matters are resolved correctly and promptly. However, the administration of estates can be complicated, even for small estates. Therefore, an executor may need legal representation from a family law attorney. Indeed, obtaining professional advice and assistance with handling the estate, taxes, and investments can save time and reduce liability.

Thanks to authors at Estate Planning Attorneys for their insight into Estate and Probate Law.

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