When someone passes away, the last thing you want to deal with is probate and waiting for the estate to be handed out. That being said, if you are not sure what probate is, it can be difficult to really understand the process. So, what is probate, and why is it important? Keep reading to find out.
What Is Probate?
Probate is a period of time that follows the death of an individual who does not have a will in place at the time of their death. The probate period differs from state to state but is almost always six months. During these six months, anyone that feels that they have a claim on the money or estate that was left, can come forward and make a claim.
This can be people like creditors, other family members, or anyone the deceased might owe money to. During the six months that the estate stays in probate, nothing can be done with it. You cannot collect any of the money, you cannot sell any assets, and the estate cannot move forward in any way.
Will and/or Living Trust
If the deceased has any sort of living trust or a will in place, it can help to move the case forward. If there is a will in place the estate can be dispensed as the will says and it can be moved on. If there is a will or living trust, the trust will bypass probate and will move the estate toward resolution.
If you are dealing with an estate with a will in place, the will can be dispensed as soon as the person has passed. If you do not have a will, it is important that if you want your estate to be handled as soon as you pass, you do get a will in place so that your family does not have to deal with the probate process.
In some cases, you can get a lawyer involved that can help you bypass the probate process and can help you to move the estate forward, even if there is no will or trust. If you feel that there is no debt against the estate, if you feel that you want to get a lawyer, they will take a portion of the estate after it gets paid out as their fee. Dealing with probate is difficult. It is important to take care of your estate before you pass so that your family does not have to deal with the probate process.
Categorised in: Estate Lawyer