Probate is the procedure of dealing with the estate left behind by a deceased person. The process involves activities such as identifying all the assets, paying all debts or taxes, distributing all the estates and properties to the legal heirs, etc.
While the probate laws are different across states, the procedure is usually similar. It can be quite complicated for someone unaware of the law, but hiring the services of a Louisville Probate lawyer from one of our sponsors at IHeart, Triplett & Carothers, can help make it easier. The lawyer can help you manage all the stages of probate effectively. Here is everything you need to know about probate and its importance.
What Is Probate?
Probate is, simply speaking, the process in which a deceased person’s will or estate is processed by the court. This process usually takes some time, depending on the size of the property left behind.
If the decedent has left behind a will, the person named the heir will oversee this process. They will need to apply for a grant of probate in the local court within 30 days of the property owner’s death. This legal document will enable them to take over the administration of the property.
But, if the property owner dies without a will or does not explicitly name anyone as their heir, the court reserves the right to appoint a person from the decedent’s closest relatives as the administrator. The said person can choose to either decline or accept the task.
But probate is not always mandatory for the transfer of property. Properties of lower value can be easily transferred to a new owner even without probate. But, if the deceased person’s estate exceeds a certain amount in value, it’s necessary to go through the probate procedure.
How Does A Probate Work?
If the deceased person has left a will, it will also mention an executor for the will. While the exact probate process may vary on a case-to-case basis, it generally consists of the following steps.
The executor first collects all the details of the assets of the deceased person, as well as their debts. They then apply for a grant of probate from the local court, which grants them the right to administer the estate and distribute it to the beneficiaries named in the will. They receive the grant of probate after verification and payment of an inheritance tax in addition to any other dues.
After the grant, they are required to repay all debts of the deceased person before distributing the rest of the assets among the beneficiaries. This is done as per the instructions in the decedent’s will. The process ends once the inheritance is distributed to the heirs and all debts and taxes dealt with.
Why Is It Important?
Probate is essential because it validates the will left by the deceased person. It ensures that the will in question is genuine and isn’t forged by someone. Moreover, the court officially recognizes the executor named in the will or appoints one to properly administer the estate during the probate.
But that’s not all. Going through the probate process ensures that the property is distributed as intended by the decedent in the will. It’s also beneficial for creditors since all debts are repaid before the distribution of the property. Therefore, even though the procedure is complex, expensive, and time-consuming, it’s still considered necessary when a considerable property is involved.
Probate is a long procedure – although the duration depends largely on the size of the estate. Usually, it takes around a year to complete all the formalities, but it can take longer if disputes come up. Therefore, it’s best to opt for the advice of an experienced probate lawyer to ensure the smooth resolution of any issues related to probate.