What is Probate - and why all the fuss?
In recent history, the process called PROBATE has gotten a bad reputation.
Granted, just like everything else in our current and complicated world, PROBATE can seem to cause more problems than it solves.
But really, truly, it is there to protect the estate of the deceased.
What does Probate do?
In its most basic form, Probate:
- Proves - In court - that the will is a valid will.
- Allows an appropriate time period, for challenges to that will to be considered.
Depending on the completeness and/or complexity of the documents, Probate can also
assume the responsibility for:
When Is Probate Necessary?
- Identifying and Inventorying the deceased person's property
- Having property appraised
- Paying debts and taxes, and even
- Distributing the remaining property as the will (or state law, if there's no will) directs.
Generally speaking, Probate is usually required when the deceased person's personal property value is in excess of a certain value, set by the state in which you live.
How Long Does It Take?
There are many variables than can determine how long a probate will take. Whether or not there is a Will is a big factor, as is the complexity of the assets making up the estate and the time that may be required to sell certain assets. Also, if someone files an objection to contest a Will this can cause a probate to last one or even several years. However, the average uncontested probate should take no longer than six to nine months to conclude.
What are the Costs of Probate?
Probate costs may vary greatly with each estate and there are several factors that can be involved.
- Estate Complexity
- Challenges to the will
- Administrator Compensation
- Probate Bond
- Court Filing Fees
- Attorney Fees
- Creditor Notice Fees
Taking time now to have your Will (or a Will coupled with a Living Trust) drawn up and settled will not only help speed up the probate process, but it also protects those you love from unwanted drama in the courtroom.
This information is for general use only. Every estate is different based upon the type of property, assets and family situation. For information specific to your situation, we urge you to talk with an attorney.