Probate is a process of transferring the assets of a person who has recently died to their heirs. Contrary to what you might have been told, probate is generally not complicated, expensive, or lengthy. Depending on how you hold your assets, probate may even not be necessary.
The objective of the probate system is to help beneficiaries and heirs clear titles and assets as quickly as possible while avoiding any false claims against the deceased’s estate. In general, a bank or financial institution will not release assets, including funds, until provided a probate order. Probate can seem like this huge hurdle to overcome before assets and property can be distributed to beneficiaries and the estate can be closed. When a loved one creates their estate plan, they often take some steps to protect as many assets as possible from the probate process. However, it’s not harmful and is sometimes an advantage that some assets pass through probate.
Working with a probate attorney can be particularly helpful when managing the probate process. They can help you understand the process every step of the way. Sometimes complications like conflicts between family members or beneficiaries do arise. When this happens, you may want to talk with a probate attorney Allentown, PA families trust.
Step One: Identifying the Executor
Following the death of a loved one, you will first want to determine who has been named the estate’s executor. This level of responsibility can come with mixed emotions. Taking on the job can be an incredibly weighted responsibility. It’s important to note that the executor can pass on this responsibility if they choose. An executor will need to remain balanced, honest, and committed to the task at hand. Once someone has assumed this responsibility, the executor will need to petition for probate in the area in which the person who passed away lived.
Step Two: Notice of Probate
The following steps to probate come in a few different parts. The executor is responsible for obtaining their loved one’s death certificate and will. Following this, they will file the documents with the proper government agency. Each area has different rules about notification of creditors and family. This gives creditors an opportunity to try to collect any debts that may be owed. It is a standard requirement to post newspaper notices for people to reference. The next step for the executor is to file proof that these steps have been taken.
Step Three: Asset Inventory
The executor will need to take an inventory of items that must go through probate and those that pass outside of probate. The process of taking inventory can be time-consuming. In some cases, an appraiser may be retained to value assets. You will be required to list each asset and their values upon death for items like:
The inventory need also list any debts. An Allentown, PA probate attorney can help put together this process and ensure that the inventory and notice are carried out correctly. Once completing this process, the executor will pay any debts to creditors. These debts may also include funeral expenses.
Step Four: Transfer and Distribution of Assets
A significant step is obtaining the executor a full liability release before any distribution. The Probate Attorney typically assembles this release and makes sure it binds all interested parties. If a beneficiary refuses to sign the release, the Probate Attorney files the necessary petition with the court. Without this release, the executor may remain liable and susceptible to being called to court forever.
Once obtaining the release and paying creditors and taxes, the executor and the probate attorney transfer the remaining assets to those named in the will. They will do so by liquidating assets, setting up trust accounts for minors, and transferring property if the will requires them to do so. When a person has passed away with a clear and detailed estate plan, it can make for a smooth and simplified process.
Ensuring that your estate plan is up-to-date can be especially helpful in moving through the probate process as quickly as possible. You will give yourself peace of mind knowing that your loved ones receive a clear picture of your wishes. A probate attorney Allentown, PA clients recommend, like the ones who drew up your estate plan, can help them carry out the disbursement of their inheritance.
A Probate Lawyer Ready for Mediation and Litigation
At Klenk Law, each of our probate attorney Allentown, PA residents count on are dedicated to client-centered legal representation. Having over 25 years of experience in handling estate planning, wills, trust, probate, and litigation, we have established a solid reputation throughout the Allentown community. If you have recently lost a loved one and are facing routine probate matters or complex situations like probate or will litigation, we can help. To discuss your case with an Allentown probate attorney, please call our office today.
Once an estate enters probate, it is possible that interpersonal conflicts and unresolved issues come to life. If you are questioning the validity of the estate documents, or any of the following questions are raising concern, you should contact a will contest attorney in Allentown, PA for further advice:
In general, when concerns such as the aforementioned are brought to light during probate, litigation in probate court may be necessary. While most people prefer to stay out of the court system, it can be useful as it might enable you or your lawyer to review various records or force testimony from an estate representative, family member, or beneficiary. Probate litigation can level the playing field while being overseen by a probate judge.
Other Litigation Matters That Could Arise During Probate Trust Litigation
When a trustee dies before the decedent, a new trustee needs to be appointed. However, when this happens and concerns about poor investment decisions or financial loss arise, a skillful lawyer might need to get involved.
In some probate litigation cases, guardianship issues will also be involved. A guardianship attorney Allentown, PA locals recommend can help families find solutions to:
Guardianship cases can be very complicated and difficult to navigate. If you suspect a problem or disagreement exists, please call a lawyer from Klenk Law now.
Call a Probate Attorney Allentown, PA Clients Depend On Now for a Free Case Evaluation
When it comes to probate litigation, or any other litigation involving an estate, you should have a probate lawyer who is prepared to do whatever it takes to get you the results you are looking for. To speak with a probate attorney Allentown, PA offers, please call our Klenk Law today.