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Probate

Horn & Johnsen SC > Probate
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Entrust Complicated Probate Matters to an Experienced Attorney

 

Probate is the process of validating a will and retitling property after a person dies. Although some families can do this without the help of an attorney, those with complicated estates often benefit from the assistance of a skilled legal professional. There are a number of matters that might need to be addressed, and having an experienced attorney could make it easier for a grieving family to settle their estate. Whether the loved one died with or without a will or with all of their property in a trust, an attorney who focuses on probate matters may be a valuable resource.

 

Wills

 

If the deceased person had a valid will, their wishes will be considered by the court. When there is no will, the death Probate process should focus on the legal rules of inheritance. The court will make an attempt to contact all interested family members to give them an opportunity to challenge the will. Real estate, artwork, motor vehicles, business and other assets may need to be appraised to determine their value before they are legally transferred to beneficiaries. The attorney for the family typically oversees this task. Courts decide how real estate held only in the decedent’s name, bank accounts without a beneficiary on file, and personal property not accounted for in the will are distributed after all the decedent’s debts are paid. An attorney might file the final tax return, ensure all the debts are settled, and properly transfer all remaining assets to the decedent’s heirs.

 

Trusts

 

Proactive people transfer all of their assets into a trust to make it easier for their family members to get the property they intend for them to have following their death. When a trust is in place, a family may be able to avoid all of the death probate hearings. The trust documents should outline the beneficiaries of each of the assets held in the trust. An experienced probate attorney may help with the administration of the trust. While some trusts transfer assets completely, many parents prefer to have control over how cash and property are given to their children. Since this option isn’t available with a will, those who desire this type of control should talk to an attorney about setting up a trust as soon as they decide they want to use one. As the trustee, an attorney could fulfill all of the directions in the trust, including dispersing funds on specific dates and evaluating emergency requests.

 

Experiencing an unexpected death can be difficult for a family. Working with an attorney who has been helping grieving families resolve their probate or trust administration issues for many years might make the process much easier.