If you are here to learn about the probate process after the passing of a loved one, we first want to say that we are very sorry for your loss.
We hope that the information you find on this page will help you and answer some questions during such a difficult time.
Overview Of The Probate Process.
Probate is a process through the court system to ensure the legal transfer of assets from the deceased’s name to the names of the deceased’s legal heirs or beneficiaries.
Probate is generally also necessary to prove the validity of a will, appoint someone to manage the estate, inventory and appraise estate property, pay the deceased’s debts and taxes, and distribute the estate property as directed by the will (or by state law if there is no will).
My Loved One Had a Trust – Will We Need To Go Through Probate?
In most cases if your loved one left a trust as the cornerstone of their estate plan, then no you do not need to go through probate.
However, there is one big caveat here: The deceased must have ensured that all of his or her assets were properly titled in the name of the trust or properly named the trust as beneficiary in order to completely avoid probate.
Unfortunately, not all estate planning attorneys who draft a trust for their clients ensure that assets are properly owned and beneficiaries are properly designated. If not all the assets are in the trust, a probate may be needed.
What Do I Do Now?
You might read online that probate is very expensive and time-consuming. It depends, but one thing is for sure: The probate process is a public process that can be avoided with proper planning in advance.
But if you are now in a situation where you must go through the probate process to administer the estate of a loved one, the best thing you can do is get educated and get help from a qualified legal team to complete the process as quickly and with as little expense as possible. Do not assume that all attorneys are the same.
Choosing your probate lawyer is one of the most important decisions you will make.