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. However, there are assets that will not be included in the probate. Such include insurance policies and assets funded by a trust. Probate assets include real estate owned by the individual, investment accounts as well as solely owned businesses. The probate process will consider all the assets that do not have a designated tag. 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. In most cases, it is because the beneficiaries might not be conversant with the whole process. It actually takes time and energy. It also takes a lot of both trust and disclosure. 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 the freedom to contest a trust by a beneficiary. 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 hinder the trust from either selling or refinancing by the trustee during this entire period. You will have the freedom to ask for a restraining order that will be in existence temporarily or get an injunction. This will make sure that the assets within these trusts will not be susceptible to wastage.
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. This is where the executor will be named. The beneficiaries will also have the right to contest this choice. The will has to be verified. These probate cases may actually last for quite a while. You will learn that this is the only way to give creditors a chance to come forward. Avoiding probate will also require a plan. The process becomes relatively easier and faster. Come up with a trust to allow you move all the property to it. Make the accounts to bear the property of being paid upon death. An established joint tenancy will do the magic too. Make sure you are more conversant with estate laws. You will learn that it is more appropriate to get a top-class probate attorney to help you out when challenging a will.