When a loved one passes, dealing with the accompanying grief is a difficult process. An added stress to the process is attempting to manage the different aspects of probate. This includes the Court filing of the deceased’s will, distributing their assets and settling debts and affairs. This process is incredibly difficult on a family so soon after experiencing loss but is a vital task that needs to be completed. By retaining the services of an experienced probate law firm, you can take the pressure and stress off your family. This works by ensuring that a neutral party will limit confusion within the family and that all the required tasks are properly completed. It also takes care of making sure that your loved ones will is correctly administered, and their assets are properly distributed among the named heirs or in accordance with their final wishes.
What Does The Probate Process Entail?
Upon the passing of your loved one, if they left a last will and testament, they would have named a personal representative, or executor, who will be responsible with completing the instructions given by the will. The personal representative is required by law to file the probate with the court, within a certain period of time (Thirty days from the date of death if in the State of Florida). Probated assets fall under the jurisdiction and power of the court, which will oversee the process. If the deceased did not have a will, the estate is simply distributed according to the law and statutes of the state in which the deceased lived, provided that all debts and taxes have been paid. The beneficiaries will receive what is left of the estate once those things have been resolved. If your loved one passed without a will, and therefore no executor was named, the court has power to appoint one. Having a probate law firm represent you allows this process to be simplified. Should any party wish to challenge the probate, assuming they have a valid legal argument, a probate law firm will be able to either contest or defend the legality of the will.
What Does and Doesn’t Go Through Probate?
Not all of the deceased’s assets are required to go through process of probate. If an asset is contractually required to pass on to another person, it qualifies to not undergo probate. Examples of this, include IRAs, 401K plans and life insurance policies that name a beneficiary, jointly held bank or securities accounts, bank accounts and retirement policy accounts with a named beneficiary, or a clause that states, “payable on death”. Property jointly held or held as husband and wife where there is a surviving spouse, can be free from the probate process. Under certain state laws, vehicles and household’s items can be instantly transferred to immediate family members without the need to probate, also, in all cases, if a vehicle or watercraft is jointly held or registered with a transfer-on-death form. Company shares, stocks, vehicles titled to only the deceased, and personal property, such as appliances, furniture, and memorabilia that do not have titles are subject to probate and need to be included on an inventory that must be filled with the court.
Should you have any questions or if you are unsure if your assets need to be included in a probate or if you need a probate attorney, please contact The Law Offices of Gary I. Handin, PA. We are based in Coral Springs, Florida and our capable and experience team of lawyers are more than willing to help you with any probate issues in time of need.