What Is Probate? | When Is Probate Required?

Probate is the process of administering the estate of a person after they die. Requirement & procedures can be confusing. Here is information about how to handle probate.

The death of someone close is always a challenging and emotional time. Grief can easily overwhelm you, and on top of everything, there are financial issues to deal with. For instance, deciding what to do with the estates and assets of the deceased. Certain steps are required in order to take care of the deceased’s possessions. That’s when probate comes in.

It is a court-supervised process of validating the will of a deceased person. It involves identifying their final assets, paying their last debts, and distributing their estate’s property to the proper heirs. So how exactly does it work, and when is it required? In this guide, we would like to help you understand the whole process, but sometimes the situation may be complicated. In this case, it’s best to turn to specialists like Probate Advance, who can help you sort all the documents and advise you on how to proceed.

How Does Probate Work?

Probate is the process of administering the estate of a person after they die. The will has to be reviewed in order to validate it and confirm its authenticity. The court ensures that all assets lawfully go to the right person and any taxes and debts are paid in full. It can typically involve lawyers and a court proceeding where the stipulations in the will are read aloud, and the rightful inheritances are handed out.

Some wills appoint a proper executor, who has 30 days from the date of death, to file a document with the court. The executor is responsible for administering assets and making sure that the right assets are distributed. If the will didn’t state who will be left in charge, most of the time, the role falls on the next of kin. The person appointed can always decline the position, and in this case, the court has to turn to someone else.

After going through the whole process, the executor receives a document that they can take to the land registry, banks, and other organizations to collect everything and distribute funds to beneficiaries.

When Is It Necessary?

In some cases, all that is required is a grant of probate, letter of administration, and sometimes, probate isn’t required at all. Many assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries instantly. The laws that regulate it differ in every state. Some states specify the value of assets like estates that can be transferred without a proceeding.

For example, in Texas, every estate which is valued at $75 000 or less can skip the probate process. If it is small enough to bypass, you can take some alternate legal actions like an affidavit. Other states allow vehicles and boats to be transferred if the proper form was filled out or it is to go to close family members.

A popular workaround is to place assets in a trust. All funds are transferred to the inheritors right after the person’s death.

Some other examples of assets that don’t require probate are:

  • Retirement accounts that list direct beneficiaries
  • Life insurance
  • US saving bonds
  • POD securities
  • Wages and commissions due to be paid to the deceased

Which Assets Have to Go Through Probate?

It all depends on the will and what is listed there. In some cases, the judge has to step in and assist the personal representative with what should be done. When a property is sole ownership and only has the name of a deceased on the deed and is missing POD or TOD, it has to go through proceedings to decide ownership. When people are listed as “tenants in common” and the will has no clear instructions, the probate process is needed to handle the deceased’s part of a property.

Any small items like clothes, furniture, appliances, and other goods fall into the non-titled property category. The judge has to decide to whom they should go. This isn’t an issue if they are listed in the will.

Probate is also necessary in case of the death of a beneficiary. If the father leaves everything to his daughter, who died before or at the same time, the probate court will get involved and decide who is the next inheritor or how to divide all assets to the remaining family members.

The Bottom Line

Probate, not always a low investment, might be confusing to handle, especially in the time of grief, but it is actually designed to help you and be a dependable procedure during unsteady times. It helps to decide the matter of inheritance without dividing the family. To best prepare yourself and your family, it is better to create a will sooner than later. A detailed will can help shorten the probate process, and the right executor can ensure safe property transfers.

If any issues arise, you can always seek guidance from the right advisors or lawyers. They will help you learn how state laws affect your situation and find the best solution during this challenging time. Check this out if you are looking for business opportunities in the legal industry.