What Should I Know About Probate?

One of the most dreaded aspects of making an estate plan is the process of probate. When a person dies, the executor usually goes through probate, which is a court-supervised process where the deceased individual (decedent) assets are redistributed to the heirs. The decedent’s will is validated as well during this time. As a probate lawyer like one from Kaplan Law Practice, LLC can explain, there are a number of issues that can arise during probate proceedings. Addressing concerns involving probate is an important part of making a detailed estate plan. 

Prepare Your Essential Documents

Prior to attending a probate meeting, the petitioner or executor of the estate should have the right documents ready. You should have the last will, death certificate copy, and names of the decedent’s heirs. Be ready to file these documents as you go through probate court proceedings.  

Each State Has Its Own Probate Laws

Probate does not work the same way in every state. The Uniform Probate Code (UPC) is a group of probate laws that outline the requirements of probate and how it will be conducted. Though many states use the UPC in some form, there are a few states that do not follow the UPC. 

Probate Can Be Expensive

Depending on the size of an estate, the probate process can be highly expensive. There are legal fees that must be paid, which can cost a significant portion of the estate. Certain states must pay even up to 20%. When there are disagreements among heirs or other family members, it is even more complex and the process can get drawn out. A well thought out will can prevent issues and minimize costs. 

Find Out if Probate is Necessary

Probate is sometimes necessary for the smooth transfer of assets from a decedent to their heirs. The type of estate plan can influence whether or not you need to go through probate. For example, if you have a living trust set up, you can skip the process. Being able to avoid probate can allow you to skip the hassle and let heirs receive their inheritance much more quickly. 

For anyone who is preparing their estate plan or needs to go through the probate process as an executor, knowing the basics of probate can help you navigate it smoothly. If you need guidance or have questions about the probate process, talk to a skilled probate lawyer for legal assistance. 

 

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