What is Probate in Estate Planning?
As has been mentioned before in our posts, estate planning is incredibly important – and it is always the right time to start thinking about it. Having a proper plan in place means that not only are your wishes respected following your passing but also that your loved ones will not have to endure a legal process in order to receive any portion of your estate. An important aspect of estates is called probate, which is the subject of this article.
Probate is the process during which a court is tasked with determining the validity of a will (if one exists), assigning beneficiaries, and splitting up the estate accordingly to the appropriate heirs or beneficiaries. If there was a will, the person who conducts the process is called the executor. If no will had been created, then the court can appoint an administrator.
The long legal process ensures that the deceased’s assets and estate are properly collected and, following the reconciling of any debts, distributed to the heirs and beneficiaries. While most will not want to endure this lengthy court procedure, some instances make it a legal requirement. For example, if the deceased’s estate is valued at greater than $150,000, then a probate case must be opened. A probate case has many different parts and can require different people to fulfill their legal duties. Therefore, they can sometimes get quite complicated. For families or beneficiaries who must go through the process, skilled lawyers can help them navigate the process and meet all of the requirements.