Probate FAQs

PROBATE FAQs

What is Probate?

Probate is the process in which heirs work with a court to appoint someone (personal representative) to handle administering an estate. The personal representative takes on the task of paying final expenses, debts, collecting assets, selling property and distributing the balance. The personal representative has the obligation to distribute the estate according to the wishes of the decedent or, if there is no will, according to state law.

Does the Probate process take a long time?

Be aware that no matter the situation, probate may be a lengthy process often taking months or possibly years to play out, and one which may take a considerable amount of an executor’s time.

To summarize the process, in the simplest terms, probate can be broken into five basic steps:

  1. Asking the court to appoint the personal representative (and validate the Will)
  2. Inventory estate
  3. Settle debts (claims, taxes or other debts)
  4. Sell assets that cannot be divided between the heirs/beneficiaries
  5. Distribute remaining assets
  6. File a closing statement with the court to discharge personal representative

Each of these steps involve legal documentation and validation, and more importantly, proper accounting each step of the way.

What is Probate Court?

Probate begins and ends with filing an action in Probate Court All actions taken regarding the estate are accountable to this court, and must be noted and reported regularly. In larger counties, the probate court is staffed by special judges qualified to oversee estate resolution issues.

Does a will have to be probated?

After a death when the deceased left a will, it is common to question whether a will must be probated or not. In most cases, the probate process is necessary. However, the full probate process may not need to take place if the estate meets certain conditions. For example, the full probate process may not necessary if the value of the estate assets is $75,000 or less and there is no probate real estate.

How long does the will probate process take?

The specific length of time that the process is going to take will vary depending upon a wide variety of different factors, including the complexity of the transfer of assets, the value of the estate, and whether there are any problems like someone contesting a will. Due to COVID, the courts are overwhelmed and it can take 8 weeks to get a hearing on the probate.

Typically, the probate process will take around 6 months, but it could take much longer and it can sometimes be a little shorter if everything goes correctly. Unique Estate Law will help you to ensure that you do everything possible to move the process forward as quickly as possible if you have been named executor of an estate or if your loved one has passed away.

What are the duties of an executor?

The executor of an estate is the individual with the most responsibility during the probate process. The executor of an estate has an obligation to file court paperwork and to take care of many different executor duties during the probate process including providing notice of the probate process to heirs or beneficiaries, taking care of estate assets, and facilitating the transfer of the ownership of assets to the new owners of the property as determined by the last will and testament.  Because an executor has many complicated, technical responsibilities during the probate process, it is a good idea for the executor of an estate to be represented by an experienced probate lawyer at Unique Estate Law.

Should you hire a probate lawyer?

If you are involved in the probate process in any way, as an executor of an estate, as one of the heirs or beneficiaries, or as someone who wishes to contest a will, you should talk with a probate lawyer at Unique Estate Law. Our firm will guide you through every step of the probate process so you can honor the wishes of the deceased, protect an inheritance, and fulfill your obligations. Give us a call today to find out more.