Probate is the legal process of settling your, or a loved one’s, estate after death. A process by which a personal representative is appointed by the Court and is responsible for carrying out the terms of the deceased person’s Will, if there is one. The personal representative is also responsible for the gathering and inventorying all of the deceased person’s property as well as paying for the deceased person’s debts and distributing the remaining property to the heirs or beneficiaries.
A probate proceeding typically involves the steps (in a nutshell):
- Filing a petition of probate with the Court having jurisdiction over the deceased person’s estate
- Notifying all of the interested parties of the proceeding
- The Court appoints a personal representative
- The personal representative marshals the estate assets and prepares an inventory of the estate
- The personal representative pays the expenses of the administration
- The personal representative allows or disallows claims against the deceased person and their estate and then pays the allowed claims in the priority allowed by law
- The personal representative prepares and files all income and estate tax returns and pays all outstanding tax obligations
- The personal representative prepares a final accounting of the estate administration and distributes the remaining assets to the heirs or beneficiaries
- Finally, the personal representative closes the estate and is discharged by the Court
Everything from drafting, filing, and serving all of the necessary paperwork, to managing all of the tax matters concerning the estate, including preparing and filing all of the required tax returns, to addressing contested or disputed matters, we have the experience and compassion to help you and your loved ones through what is often a very difficult and emotional period in time.
When it comes to contested or disputed matters, litigated issues often include: Will contests, which are disputes regarding the validity and interpretation of a Will, challenges to the authority and conduct of the personal representative and whether they are properly performing their duties, and determinations concerning the beneficial interests. The death of a close friend or family member can create a lot of stress and confusion and disputes can arise over the slighted of details. With compassion and understanding, we can help you navigate the entire probate process and protect your rights in the event that a dispute should ever arise.
Our probate attorneys help answer your questions about probate, including whether a probate proceeding is necessary, how to best proceed after a family member or friend has passed away, or address and resolve any disputed matter. If you have any questions or need help with a probate matter, you should speak with an experienced probate attorney by contacting us today to schedule a free initial consultation.