What is the process for probate?

During times of grief, individuals may be faced with a mix of emotions. The death of a loved one leads to a lot of emotional turmoil. Dealing with the idea of death in general is hard to think of. Individuals may avoid it for as long as possible. However, instead of avoiding it, it is better to plan for it. By planning for your estate, you can ensure that your possessions will be in good hands when you are gone. After you pass, your family will not have to worry about dealing with the distribution of your possessions. Instead, you will be preparing for them, which can help ease their emotional situation and relieve some stress from the experience. The probate process proves the validity of legal documents regarding estate administration. Probate involves the validation of legal matters regarding a deceased person’s estate.

How does a will work?

A will is a legal document that ensures a person’s wishes regarding their estate is being followed after they die. Probate proves the legality of the will and allows the court to distribute the assets as they are outlined in the document. Before the deceased individual passes, they will have assigned someone as an executor to their estate. This person is in charge of making sure that the proper possessions are given to the right people. As an executor, they will have substantial responsibilities that require their cooperation.

What’s the difference between testate and intestate?

Testate means that a person dies with a valid will. The will has gotten the proper documentation and the Surrogate Court will oversee the probate of the will. Since the will has gone through the proper probate process, it proves that the will is valid and is a formal legal document.

If the will is contested, it may be sent to the Superior Court. When an individual dies without a will, it means they died intestate. A representative may be appointed by the state to oversee the administration of the estate. This person may be the closest living relative. Certain family members, such as a living spouse or children, may be entitled to the estate.

When do I begin the probate process after someone dies?

After the death of a loved one, individuals cannot begin the probate process until 11 days after their death. The original will and death certificate may be filed after this time period. These documents should be filed with the Surrogate Court in the county where the deceased lived at the time of death. The filing of the papers may be done by the executor of the will, any heirs, spouses, creditors or anyone else with a property right or claim against the estate.

The executor is the representative that has the legal responsibility to take care of the deceased person’s remaining financial obligations. They may be named in the will specifically or appointed by the court. Some of their responsibilities include providing accounting to the court, paying outstanding debts and taxes and collecting, protecting and distributing assets according to the will’s specification. If you have been assigned as an executor, it is a serious task to take on.

During times of death, it may be hard to focus and think clearly. As legal professionals, we can help provide a clear state of mind to ensure everything is done properly throughout the process.

Our firm understands that so much of your future is on the line in matters of divorce, family law, bankruptcy, and estate planning. Before taking any sort of legal action, it is important to discuss your legal matter with an experienced attorney. Contact The Radol Law Firm to discuss any divorce and family law matters you may be faced with.