Death is a natural part of life. However, for something that happens naturally to everyone, it is still fraught with so much mystery and dread. A death in the family is one truly a trying event for anyone because there is not only the sadness and trauma of losing someone beloved, but survivors of the death also have to take care of funerary arrangements, which also come with their own set of emotional roller coaster. Moreover, sometimes what happens is that family surviving family members might argue about 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. 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:
1). Identifying a personal representative – if a specific person has been mentioned in the deceased person’s will, then this person is appointed to be the estate’s representative. If not, then the court will then appoint someone to represent the estate, usually a living family member who voluntarily takes up the responsibility. This person then will file the Petition for Probate of Will and Appoint of Personal Representation. Is the beginning of the probate process.
2). Notification of heirs and creditors of the death – different states have different rules, but usually the death notification must be done in the local newspaper. This death notice is important because it serves as an announcement to any possible creditors of the deceased person that the probate process has begun. The death notice would also inform creditors who they can contact as the estate representative as well as any lawyers for any outstanding debts that still need to be paid.
3). Recording all the estate’s assets – the estate representative is the one responsible for making a list of all the estate assets. This must be achieved so that the total value of the deceased person’s assets can be determined to check if there will be enough money to pay creditors as well as any outstanding debts.
4). Distributing the assets of the estate – in this last step of the probate process, the deceased person’s assets are distributed. Funds are given to, usually starting with creditors first, then funeral expenses, outstanding debts and taxes and finally all other remaining claims. If there is anything left, then the remaining assets or money will be given to the heirs. The probate process then is completed.
Why Hire Legal Help For The Probate Process
As mentioned above, the probate process is usually pretty straightforward. Nevertheless, complications can arise, in cases where the deceased person owned property in another state, or if the deceased owned a house that belongs to both the deceased person and his/her spouse. To make sure any possible complications that might arise would be handled properly, many people prefer to pay for the professional help of a lawyer.