probate attorneys

Understanding the Essentials of Probate Laws and Process

When a loved one passes away, the process of settling the estate will involve entering into a probate process. There are specific laws that apply to this process and help to ensure things move along without a great deal of delay. For those who may find themselves serving as an executor for the estate of a loved one, here are some things to understand about probate1 and how it works.The Last Will and TestamentA key element in the Probate process is determining the validity of any document presented as the last will and testament of the deceased. In many situations, this is not a long process. When only one document is presented, it is easy enough to ensure it complies with the current laws and then approve it for execution. Should there be more than one document on hand, a court will make a decision about which will is considered the binding document. Typically, those who are in support of each document presented will hire one or more probate attorneys to help plead their cases.Conducting an InventoryAnother key element of the probate process focuses on making an inventory of the assets and belongings of the deceased. The goal is to determine everything that is considered part of the estate. This process also helps to ensure if specific assets or belongings are bequeathed to certain beneficiaries, they are located and forwarded to the right individual. The inventory will be invaluable to the executor in terms of settling the affairs of the estate.Taking Care of ExpensesAssuming the deceased left behind some amount of debt, it is necessary to verify the amounts owed and make plans to pay off the balances. An attorney can help with determining what assets can be used to manage this process. If the deceased did have life insurance set aside naming the estate as the beneficiary, the proceeds from the insurance can be used to settle any outstanding expenses.Managing any Remaining TaxesThe probate process also includes the necessity of paying any taxes owed by the estate. This can only be accomplished after the inventory is complete and there is confirmed information about all the assets held by deceased at the time of death. Once the taxes are settled, the remaining assets c