Probate describes the legal process that takes place after an individual’s death. It includes a number of routine steps that must ensue in order for the deceased’s estate to be settled. During probate, all claims on the estate are resolved and assets are distributed to the correct people, usually family members. The probate court determines the validity of the testator’s Will, eventually granting probate to the estate’s Executor.
During the probate process, the Executor, who is usually named in the Will, receives the legal power to settle the Will and distribute the deceased’s assets. The steps involved in probate include:
Proving that the deceased’s Will is valid
The identification and inventory of the Testator’s property
Payment of all taxes and debts
Distribution of remaining assets
If an individual dies without a Will (dying intestate), then the courts will appoint a Personal Representative who will be responsible for distributing assets. The laws of Descent and Distribution guide the settlement of the estate normally based upon hereditary succession. Probate procedures are overseen by state laws and have been amended many times over the years.
Probate of a Will
The probate of a Will is an important legal process that should take place soon after an individual’s death. The Will generally must be probated before it becomes effective. In fact, there are laws in place that will impose a penalty to anyone who suppresses, destroys, or fails to produce the Will within a specific amount of time. The probate most often takes place in the state where the deceased was a legal resident at the time of his or her death. If the deceased owned property in other states, then the disposition of those assets must be probated individually in each state.
Probate courts make it a priority to carry out the intentions of the deceased if at all possible. In cases where some of the provisions of the Will are obscure or invalid, probate can still take place. There may be instances where a later Will doesn’t unequivocally revoke all prior Wills and probation of several Wills may be allowed.
Contact An Experienced Probate Lawyer Today
There are many other laws, statutes and stipulations surrounding the probate of a Will, along with many types of wills and trusts. Those who have holdings, real estates and other assets should have a professionally drawn will that clearly outlines their wishes.
The attorneys at Riddle & Associates PC work with clients every day helping them create an estate plan that will ensure the proper distribution of assets. With over 20 years of experience, our firm provides dependable, trustworthy legal services. Our firm is located in Houston, Texas but we serve all surrounding areas. We would love to talk to you about estate planning and invite you to contact us for more information.