Probate Estate Administration Law!

When a loved one passes away, his or her estate often goes through a court-managed program called “probate” or “estate administration.” This is where the Probate Court oversees the distribution of the assets in the deceased’s estate. The length of time needed to complete the probate process varies depending on the size and complexity of the estate as well as the state rules and schedule of the Probate Court overseeing the estate administration. If the decedent’s assets were owned through a well drafted and properly funded Living Trust (also called Revocable Trust), it is likely that probate will not be necessary. In that case, the estate would be administered by the successor trustee.
Every probate estate is unique, but most involve the following steps:
  • Filing of a petition with the appropriate Probate Court
  • Notice to heirs under the Will or statute, if no Will exists
  • Petition to appoint a Personal Representative, if there is a Will
  • Inventory and appraisal of estate assets, a list of all estate assets, account names, along with their value
  • Payment of estate debt to rightful creditors
  • Sale or distribution of estate assets
  • Payment if estate taxes, if applicable
  • Final distribution of assets to heirs

All papers submitted to the Court during the probate process are public record, including your Will, list of assets and asset values. This means anyone can request a copy of your Will and a list of what you own and where your assets are held. This can be avoided through various estate planning options. JKJ Associates, The Law Firm can assist you in avoiding probate in a manner that is less timely, expensive and is private.