Helping You Navigate the Probate Process
When a loved one passes away, you and other family members may be consumed with grief. It can be difficult to focus on all of the decisions that need to be made within a short period of time, such as notifications, funeral arrangements, and managing the details of the estate. Even when there is a will or trust in place, there are still many unanswered questions. And, if the person did not leave a will, there may be turmoil and conflict within the family. Our experienced probate attorneys can step in and provide comfort and guidance to your family at this difficult time.
Understanding the Probate Process
Probate is the court process that determines how to distribute property and assets after a person has died. Even if the person had a will, there are still some issues that need to be addressed in the probate process. The main goals of probate are to:
- Gather the assets of the estate
- Pay any debts and final expenses
- Distribute the remaining assets among the beneficiaries
There are some assets that do not need to be addressed in the probate process, such as those that already have a named beneficiary: retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and annuities. These will automatically be paid to the beneficiary upon notification of the person’s death.
Plan Now to Avoid Confusion Later
You can protect your family and make the probate process much easier by planning in advance. By creating a will, you can minimize the conflicts and confusion around your estate and ensure that your final wishes are known. When you have a will in place, it can make the process easier and help your family members work together to fulfill your wishes instead of debating about what you would have wanted.
Support and Assistance for Legal Proceedings
In some cases, family members or other beneficiaries may dispute the structure of the will or the distribution of assets. If a will is not present, there are even more opportunities for conflict. In many cases, these issues can be resolved through open and honest dialog. However, there are times when one or more parties may decide to pursue litigation. While this is unfortunate, it does happen on a regular basis. In those cases, our attorneys can assist you in pursuing or responding to litigation. We will work to resolve issues as swiftly as possible, making sure that the assets of the estate are preserved instead of being consumed by legal fees.
A Probate Attorney Can Help:
- Identify and secure the assets of an estate.
- Work with life insurance companies to make sure policies are paid.
- Ensure that all bills are paid and that all debts are settled.
- Prepare and file documents required by a probate court.
- Resolve income tax issues.
- Determine if estate or inheritance taxes are due, and settle those debts.
- Determine which beneficiaries should receive designated assets.
- Transfer assets that are in the deceased individual’s name to appropriate beneficiaries.
- Disburse remaining assets after all bills and taxes have been paid.
Clear Explanations and Practical Advice
If you are involved in probate that is related to the estate of your loved one, our attorneys can help bring clarity to the situation. We will sit down with you and explain your options in plain and simple terms, and we will offer sound and practical legal advice so you can make an informed decision. If necessary, we can facilitate a dialog among the parties and help you to agree on a resolution. Ultimately, you are in the best position to decide how to manage your loved one’s estate. Our attorneys are trusted advisors who will make sure you have all of the information you need to proceed with confidence.