Guide to the Probate Process
This is a procedure that is meant to settle the affairs of a deceased person that is mostly pushed by the courts. It seeks to ensure that the estate is able to cover all the obligations of the deceased aside from having the assets being fairly distributed among the beneficiaries. It is the duty of the court to make sure that all eligible beneficiaries get an equal share of the estate. The probate does not take into account certain assets. A number of these policies entail those assets that are trust funded as well as insurance policies. You will learn that the only things included in the probate are investment accounts, businesses and real estates that are all solely owned by the deceased. Any asset that is not designated will automatically undergo this probate process. It is for this reason that you need to always have a will.
You will have close to four years to file a probate as a beneficiary. You will learn that a good number of beneficiaries may not be sure of exactly what they want. Be ready to always invest your time and energy in this whole process. Complete trust and disclosure is necessary in this whole process. The execution of this entire process might last for a period between six and eighteen months. In case of any family feud, the process will usually take a longer period. There needs to be total accountability in this process. There is also a possibility of a beneficiary contesting a trust. As such it will also be necessary for you to freeze the assets. You can do it through placing a lien on this property. This will mean that the trustee cannot sell or refinance the at least for the period of the lien. You will have the freedom to ask for a restraining order that will be in existence temporarily or get an injunction. This will surely protect the assets within the trust from being wasted.
A probate process seeks to settle all financial obligations. Upon this settlement, the property will then be shared as per the directions given by the deceased. The executor will be indicated at this stage. The beneficiaries will also have the right to contest this choice. It is necessary that this will be proven. The probate process will always take time. With this window of time, more creditors will be allowed to come forward. Probates can be avoided by prior planning. This makes the whole process quite easy and fast. Come up with a trust that will give you room to move this property. You will then convert the accounts to pay-on-death. This needs to extend to establishing a joint tenancy. Always get to understand estate laws. If you want to challenge the will you are advised to get a good probate attorney.