How To Manage Probate Law And Maximize Your Estate
What Is Probate?
Probate is a legal process that takes place after you die, including:
- Proving in court that your will is valid;
- Identifying your property and taking inventory;
- Appraising your property;
- Paying your debts and taxes; and
- Distributing the remaining property.
Probate law requires paperwork and court appearances by attorneys. Attorneys and court fees are paid from your property. To maximize distribution to those you want to have it, plan today.
Probate is a process by which your property is distributed to others. The court supervises all proceedings, including that the law is followed. This is to your benefit if there are creditor claims, challenges to the will or disputes about the will. Surrogate courts decide the validity of your will. Probate law varies by state and professionals should document what is best for you.
Probate With A Will
The probate process can be time consuming and costly. There may also be loss of privacy surrounding your financial affairs. Undoubtedly, you can best control these future proceedings if you have a will at the time of your death. You name somebody as the personal representative (also known as executor) of your estate to become the central figure in the proceedings. Your personal representative will carry out many duties specified by law. Your will will provide the guidelines for the testate proceedings.
Probate Law Can Be Complicated
Like all legal proceedings, there are technical aspects to probate and trust administration. A probate attorney can facilitate creditor notification and publishing legal notices. Who will appoint a personal representative or obtain letters of administration? Filing and objecting to claims against the estate must be done within specific time windows. A lawsuit pending over your death or pending suits continuing after death complicate matters.
Recent changes in federal law produce new estate tax situations. The estate may obtain a federal identification number for tax purposes as it is considered a separate taxpayer. The personal representative will open a bank account in the name of the estate in which to deposit income and receipts of the estate. Expenses and distributions to your beneficiaries will also come out of this account.
A Probate Attorney Can Guide Your Heirs
Often, even after debts are settled, property must be sold to effect distribution of your estate to your heirs. Homestead property and real estate in other states will be affected by other probate laws. Trustees may need guidance in how and when to distribute assets.
Although law is designed to protect you, your heirs and creditors, the process can significantly reduce your estate. Take care today, look forward and plan a well guided transition:
- A well drafted will is likely acceptable in court.
- Identify and inventory all of your property regularly.
- Document any property appraisals.
- Organize your bills and taxes to identify creditors.
- Minimize disputes by clearly defined distributions and heirs.
WL Brown Law Office is expert in Minnesota probate law. If your loved one is gone and you need help navigating probate we have answers to your questions. Or, do you want to plan ahead today to benefit your future heirs?