How It Works
First and foremost, a petition must be filed in the deceased person’s last county of residence. Here, the petitioner — generally a close family member of the decedent — will present a copy of their loved one’s birth certificate and, if applicable, their last will and testament. The court will then verify the validity of the will before distributing any available assets.
Next, someone must step up to manage the process. This person is known as an executor, and they are typically noted in the decedent's will. In the event that a will is not present, the probate court will instead elect someone of their choice, known as an administrator.
The executor’s initial duties are to take inventory of the estate, have it appraised, and pay any outstanding debts and taxes. Then, they may distribute the decedent’s assets according to the terms of the will or court.
When Conflicts Arise
While the idea of probate may seem simple enough, there are many pitfalls you and your family can encounter. Most often, these issues surround unhappy beneficiaries who believe they are entitled to a larger share of assets than the will or court provided. And such complaints can be significant when there is reason to believe their loved one was tricked or coerced at the time the will was written.
Other common conundrums include complaints about the appointed executor and concerns about violations of legal standards. Fortunately, with an experienced legal team on your side, you can proactively work to prevent such obstacles from arising and easily overcome them if they do happen to surface. So please, give us a call today for your own peace of mind and protection.