What You Should Know About Probate
Death is never easy to deal with and knowing what to expect in probate will ease your concerns and allow you to think only of your dying loved one. The definition of probate is legally settling the deceased’s property, also known as their estate. When a death occurs, the debts, property, possessions and money of the deceased will need to be dealt with in a legal manner and according the wishes of the deceased. There are few instances when probate is not needed in the event of a death. If the person is married, in most cases without a legal will, everything belonging to the deceased will be transferred to their spouse upon their death. If a will does not exist, the courts will need to ensure that all the property left by the deceased is legally distributed.
If a will does exist, the will names a person chosen by the deceased as an executor of the will. This is generally a family member or an attorney. The executor is responsible for following the instructions the deceased has written into the will and ensure that the probate process is followed as they wish.
When it comes to probate, the process will take place in what is known as probate court. What will happen during probate will depend on where you live. However, the general aspects of probate court are as follows. The entire purpose of probate is to ensure that your debts are paid and your assets are properly transferred to your loved ones. Upon the death of a person, the executor is sworn in as such. All creditors, the public and heirs are notified of the death. Then all the property is inventoried and finally the estate is distributed in an orderly fashion.
It is important that you understand there are some possessions or property that cannot be presented to the courts. A good example is a life insurance policy. If there is a beneficiary listed on the policy then this will transfer to that beneficiary. The only time this will not occur is if the named beneficiary is also deceased and no other beneficiary is named. Other types of assets and property that cannot be presented to the courts include anything that is payable upon death to named beneficiaries. These instances do not require probate because the deceased has already named who these assets are to be released to.