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What you need to know about probate

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | Estate Planning

Navigating the probate process can be particularly challenging during a time of grief and loss. As you work through this complex legal procedure, it’s natural to have numerous questions and concerns. Understanding how the probate process works can alleviate some of the uncertainty and help you make informed decisions.

What is probate, and why is it necessary?

Probate is the legal process that distributes assets, settles debts, and assesses the validity of a deceased person. Ensuring that the deceased’s wishes are carried out correctly and protecting all parties’ interests is crucial. 

Determining the need for probate

Generally, probate is required for assets solely in the deceased’s name without designated beneficiaries. Estates below a certain monetary value may qualify for a simplified probate process or be exempt from probate altogether.. 

Jointly held assets, such as real estate or bank accounts with the right of survivorship, usually pass directly to the surviving owner without probate. Similarly, assets placed in a living trust or with designated beneficiaries, like life insurance policies and retirement accounts, bypass probate.

The role of the executor or administrator

The executor or administrator plays a crucial role in the probate process. This individual is responsible for gathering and managing the deceased’s assets. They must also pay outstanding debts and file necessary court documents. Their final task is to distribute the remaining assets according to the will.  

Choosing a trustworthy and capable executor or administrator is vital to ensure a smooth and efficient probate process.

By seeking guidance from experienced probate attorneys and familiarizing yourself with the process, you can ensure that your loved one’s wishes are carried out respectfully.