Estate Administration & Probate
Probate is the court supervised process that oversees the transfer of assets owned solely by an individual at the time of death. Most of us have heard stories or watched movies where, at the time of a loved one’s passing, the family gathers at the lawyer’s office and the will is “read” to them. While that makes for a good movie, today things are more complicated. The last will and testament today is read by the probate court and the proceedings are governing under our state law.
As a process, probate involves the inventory, management, and distribution of a person’s estate after he or she has passed away. It ensures that all valid creditors are timely paid, taxes are managed, all who could have an interest in the estate are notified, and then, ultimately, passes any remaining wealth to the chosen heirs. A notoriously complex, public, and time-consuming process, probate can be both frustrating and draining on the family. This is compounded by the fact that it usually follows the death of a loved one.
Probate does not only apply to those who pass away with having a valid last will and testament in place. It also oversees the transition of assets for a person who did no planning. Without a will we are at risk of passing away intestate or “without a will” and, in that setting, the intestacy laws of our state govern who will inherit the assets. While this may be in line with what your goals are, it may not be. Taking the proactive approach to transferring your assets at your death by making a last will and testament or trust agreement can ensure that your legacy can continue the way you want it to.
The death of a loved one is a challenging time. Probate only compounds the emotional stress you may already be feeling. Whether your loved one was our client or not, our office is available to assist in the probate process so that things proceed as seamlessly as possible.