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What is probate?

Posted on Fri Mar 25, 2022, on Uncategorized

Whether you are planning for your future or in the process of resolving the estate of a loved one, it may be in your best interest to enlist the assistance of Philadelphia probate attorneys you can trust. Our team at Klenk Law knows the process of probate can seem not only daunting but also overwhelming. With our help, our experienced team of professionals can answer your questions and provide the guidance and representation you need. We know that many may dread probate, and when enduring the process, there are sure to be many questions; see below for the answers you are looking for: 

What is probate?

When a person has passed away, their estate must be passed through probate. Probate is the legal process of validating someone’s estate by settling debts and paying any estate taxes that may be owed. Perhaps one of the most critical components to probate for beneficiaries is the process of validating the will. Additionally, should someone die intestate (or without a will), probate can refer to intestate law to decide how assets will be distributed. 

Why is probate important? 

Many people would rather not tackle the probate process. However, Philadelphia probate lawyers share that probate is not just about ensuring that debts are paid, and taxes are settled. Probate is vital for checks and balances because it validates the will, ensuring that the will was correctly created. It also officially appoints the executor, allows the opportunity for the will to be contested, and manages situations where there is no will or beneficiaries who have been identified. 

Is probate as scary as it’s made out to be? 

Many people dread probate, especially when there is no will and the court is left to make decisions, or another person has contested the will. However, there are a few ways to mitigate problems. When a person puts forth proper planning, they can reduce problems down the road. Additionally, with assistance from a professional, it’s possible to retain wealth by heirs by decreasing the number of assets that must pass through probate. 

Are there ways to avoid the probate process? 

For many people engaged in estate planning, their first question is whether they can avoid probate. While it may be possible to circumvent probate, consulting with your lawyer will be in your best interest. With their assistance, they can help strategize your estate plan to mitigate the required assets to pass through. One of the best ways to avoid probate is by developing a trust, which can be an alternative to the last will and testament. 

What role does a probate lawyer play during the process?

Depending upon your needs, a probate lawyer can take on a variety of roles. When estate planning, our firm can strategize your estate plan by offering strategic solutions tailored to meet your specific needs. With our assistance, we can ensure that your wealth is retained and passed on to your beneficiaries. 

What questions should you ask a probate Attorney at the First Meeting?

Following the death of a loved one, the thought of going through probate for that person’s estate can seem daunting. It helps to come prepared before meeting with Philadelphia Probate Attorneys to help the process go smoothly.

Accumulate Important Documents

After scheduling the meeting, it helps to ask the Philadelphia Probate Attorneys what information needs to be brought by the client. Normally, these documents include the following:

  • The original of the Last Will and Testament for the deceased, or at least a copy if the original has already been filed with the probate court
  • If any documents have been already filed with the probate court, bring copies of these
  • If a living trust existed, bring copies of these documents
  • Copies of recent financial statements for the deceased, including most recent statements for the deceased’s bank accounts, retirement or investment accounts, and life insurance policies
  • Copies of any deeds for real property owned by the deceased
  • Copies of all bills for any obligations of the deceased
  • Death Certificate
  • A list of the names and addresses for all beneficiaries listed in the will or non-probate assets.

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I saw four lawyers and was told by all of them; I should just forget contesting my mother's will. I knew what happened, but it is very hard to prove undue influence. I contacted the Law Offices of Peter L. Klenk & Associates. Attorney Amanda DiChello took my case. They were very honest and upfront about what would be involved trying to prove what I knew was true. Attorney DiChello may be young but she is extremely knowledgeable and skilled. She listened and understood what I conveyed to her. She knew exactly what information to use and crafted an outstanding interrogatory and many powerful depositions. Attorney DiChello understood the various emotional feelings this case created for my family and me; she was always there for us with a kind and encouraging word. We went to trial. The amount of work which she and her Paralegal did for the trial was incredible. They both knew my case inside and out! Attorney DiChello's powerful interrogative and thinking skills produced a positive outcome. Attorney DiChello did what other seasoned lawyers said was impossible!

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