In the realm of estate planning, probate is often viewed in a negative light. People attempt to avoid it; and while circumventing the process is in many cases ideal, understanding the ins and outs of wills and probate law will help you to create a plan that accurately reflects your wishes in case of your death. Below is a brief guide explaining the process and its manifestations.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the process by which the estate of a deceased individual is legally administered, distributing the decedent’s assets and resolving outstanding claims and debts as dictated by a last will and testament.
Testamentary Probate & Intestate Proceedings
When someone dies with a will in place, the court appoints an executor to administer the estate and ensure that all property and assets are distributed according to the directions outlined in the document. However, when heirs and creditors challenge a will, a court must determine whether adjustments should be made to the asset distribution plan. This is referred to as testamentary probate proceedings.
However, when an individual dies without a will — known as dying “intestate” — their property and assets are often distributed by the court. They satisfy the creditors first, paying any outstanding debt, before dispersing the remainder to the decedent’s spouse and family members, as dictated by state law.
If you have questions or concerns regarding trusts, powers of attorney, or wills and probate law, the estate planning attorney at Christena Silvey Coleman CSC Law, LLC, is available to help. Serving West Plains and South Central MO, for over 20 years, the seasoned legal professional offers the quality advice and guidance you and your family need to protect your best interests. Free consultations are available. Contact the practice online or call (417) 255-2725 to speak with a wills and probate law attorney directly.