Do you have a family member that recently passed away, but they did not leave a will to help divide their assets? If so, you will need to go through the probate process to decide what to do. Here is what you need to know about the probate process to divide an estate.
The Reason for Probate
Without a will, there is no way to tell what someone wanted to do with their estate after they pass away. Someone needs to be assigned to the estate to make decisions, which is known as the probate process. While probate is not necessary for all cases of dividing an estate, especially if it is small and there are very few assets to divide, it is common for the average estate to require probate. A judge will then make the decision about who will review the estate and make all the legal decisions for asset separation.
The Cost of Probate
Unfortunately, there is a cost involved to go through probate. Since the legal process of dividing an estate will be made much more complicated without a will, there are several professionals that need to step in and take control of the situation. Expect to pay court costs to have the estate viewed by a judge, fees for a representative to run the probate process, fees to an attorney to help handle the legal matters surrounding the case, and accounting fees for handling matters of transferring funds out of the estate. If some property is involved, expect to have appraisal costs added to verify how much the property is worth.
The Process of Probate
It is possible that the probate process can take between one or two years to divide an estate, which is much longer than what it would take if the person had a will. The first few months will involve validating the will, petitioning for court hearings, and sending notices to creditors that could be owed money from the estate. Then money is paid out for taxes, bills, and other debts that are owed by the estate before it can be divided among heirs. Expect to have a hearing to help distribute the assets that remain in the estate after paying debts, have the decision approved by the court, and then finally distributed.
Work with a local probate attorney to help guide you through this complicated process. It's the best way to ensure it will be done according to the law. Learn more by visiting websites such as https://www.rmstoneattorney.com/.