When a family member passes away it can be a difficult time for those left behind. Not only are they struggling with the loss of the family member but it can be an emotional process administering and facilitating their estate. If there are significant assets and complex family arrangements, conflicts can arise fairly easily. If the decedent has an estate plan that incorporates a revocable trust and has assets correctly titled into the trust at the time of death the probate process can be avoided altogether.
However, if the decedent dies into state, without a last will and testament, the court will appoint a personal representative or executor who will be authorized to act on the estate behalf, which also includes collecting the assets, handle creditor claims, and eventually make distributions to the ultimate beneficiaries.
Probate is necessary for property that was owned solely in the name of the deceased person or a share of property owned as tenants in common. This type of property is called probate estate. If there are other assets that require probate court proceedings, it’s the responsibility of the executor to open a case in probate court and see it through to completion. If there is no will or the deceased died into state, the probate court can appoint an executor that will hire a lawyer to help with court proceedings. The lawyer gets paid out of the money from the estate.
Typically, one of the most common probate issues are petitions against former trustees alleging wrongful acquisition and misappropriation of funds. This usually involves the family members and it can be quite messy. With a probate lawyer and executor working together, we can legally come to an agreement as to the disbursement and dissolve meant of property and real assets.
Other issues can occur when beneficiaries either don’t appear at hearings, hide the will testament, or suppress the existence of a trust or will. These people must be examined under oath and answer questions that are posed to them. While probate issues can get quite detailed and confusing, a probate attorney is there to help answer any questions, help with proceedings, and follow through on certain documents and executive actions.
For more information about probate court contact my office today to schedule a free consultation.