What is probate? How does it work?
Probate is the process of presenting a will before a Probate and Family Court Judge for allowance or for the court to determine intestacy. Don’t be alarmed by this word. Intestacy just means that someone passed away without leaving behind a will. This is done to determine the validity of the will and to ensure that the deceased person’s assets are distributed in accordance with their wishes. If the will is deemed valid, the court will then authorize the executor named in the will to administer the estate. If someone passes away without a will, then the state will make an estate plan for you.
What is a personal representative when it comes to probate?
The probate process results in the appointment of a personal representative. This person is in charge of administering the estate. In the context of probate, a personal representative (also known as an executor or administrator) is the individual appointed to manage the estate of a deceased person. This role can be crucial in ensuring that the deceased person’s wishes are carried out in accordance with the law.
The personal representative is responsible for a variety of tasks, including locating and valuing the deceased person’s assets, paying any outstanding debts or taxes owed by the estate, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries named in the will or, if there is no will, to the deceased person’s heirs as determined by law.
The 4 big disadvantages of going through probate
What our firm always advises folks about is the very real and very annoying disadvantages of needing to go through probate.
First, you have to go to court. Second, it’s all part of public record so anybody can look up what’s going on. Third, it’s time consuming. And fourth, it’s expensive. But the good news is with proper planning, probate can be easily avoided. Assets held jointly with rights of survivorship pass automatically to a surviving co-owner. Accounts with a beneficiary designation would pass automatically to those you’ve listed and harder to plan for assets such as real estate can avoid probate by being transferred into a trust.
Estate Planning is for everyone
We know estate planning isn’t fun to think about, but you’re not alone. Estate Planning is not just for those folks with million dollar estates. It’s really just planning everyone can benefit from. This includes newlyweds, families with step-parents, and families with young parents.
We would love to talk through what might make sense for you and your loved ones. Call us today.