Putting together a comprehensive, viable estate plan is crucial to ensure your assets and belongings are properly distributed after you pass. While you likely know about the role wills and beneficiaries play in this process, you might not have considered something known as probate. The following guide answers some of the most common questions about this process, so you and your lawyer can plan appropriately.
Questions About Probate Answered
What is probate?
Probate is a process that takes place after a person passes away. During this process, the estate law courts catalog and review all the items in the departed’s will. They will also review the departed’s financial history to determine if any debts or taxes are past due. If they are, the departed’s assets will be used to pay them off. Once this is done, the assets will be distributed among the designated beneficiaries.
Who is in charge of handling the proceedings?
One of the most important tasks when creating your estate plan is naming an executor of your will. This is the person who oversees the distribution of your assets and working with the court during the probate process. If, for some reason, you don’t have an executor at the time of your passing, the courts will designate one for you.
How long will the process take?
With a clear-cut estate, probate can take anywhere from six to nine months. However, if your will isn’t straight forward, that time will increase. For example, if you have assets that weren’t listed in your will or your documents weren’t updated after a major life event like a divorce or having children.
Is there a way to avoid going through probate?
Many people want to avoid the probate process because it takes money from their loved ones and prolongs the legal process after a passing. Luckily, by having your lawyer create a living trust, you can avoid this process. This protects assets like personal belongings, pieces of property, and bank accounts.
If you’re seeking a lawyer to help you prepare for probate, talk to the professionals at Morrow, Gordon & Byrd, Ltd. in Newark, OH. With over 80 years of experience, they ensure your assets are properly distributed after you pass. Visit their website for more information on their practice, and call (740) 345-9611 to schedule an initial consultation.