A deceased person’s assets are transferable to their beneficiaries through a probate court or an estate planning document such as a will or trust. The process usually involves identifying all properties, paying off debts and taxes, then distributing assets according to state law.
Upon death, a person’s estate is transferred to their beneficiaries according to a person’s will, but this process can be delayed if there are obstacles to the transfer. The time it takes for your estate to go through probate varies depending on your state’s laws and how complicated your assets are. Sometimes, an estate can take months or years to settle fully.
The probate process includes listing all assets on record at the time of death, including bank accounts, real estate holdings, retirement accounts, vehicles, and other property. For example, a will may indicate how beneficiaries handle a house in probate. Your lawyer should guide you through every step so that nothing gets overlooked.
Probate is more complicated if you’re dealing with an intestate estate. If there’s no will, the state decides who gets what from your loved one’s assets. The wills and probate lawyers help people resolve their estate planning matters and other issues related to wills, estate planning, real estate, and more.
You have heard the term “probate,” but do you know what it is exactly? Probate law is the proving of a will, or the process of establishing the validity of a will. It is important when estate planning to understand how long your will might be in probate, as a simple will averages six months. A more complicated one might take over two years in probate law, according the the Wisconsin State Bar.
What Holds Up a Will in Probate?
As a probate attorney will inform you, there are several things that can stall the process because of the finer points of probate law. Having any of the following will do it: multiple beneficiaries, unusual assets, estate taxes to be paid, or choosing an unqualified representative for the probate process, are all variables that can easily extend the waiting period for all those involved.
Planning ahead for these occurrences can help the validation process go more smoothly. Estate planning is apparently not a top priority for the 55% of American adults who admit they have no will or plan for the disposal of their estate. An estate planning checklist can make undertaking the task simpler. Talk to your attorney on what needs to be in order before the process begins.
What Does a Probate Attorney Do?
A probate attorney, also sometimes called an estate planning attorney, helps their client through the entire process of writing and validating their will, even after the client is deceased. The attorney is sometimes called in by probate law when a person dies without a Last Will and Testament, which is known as intestate.
Perhaps the most important task an estate attorney undertakes is ensuring that the client’s personal possessions and assets are fairly assessed by professionals. It is considered disastrous if an important piece of the estate goes missing, or if the checking and savings account are not properly monitored after the client is deceased and before the probate process is complete.
When you are considering whether or not to get started on planning the disposal of your estate, remember the following: it is never too early to start, once you are an adult. No one wants to consider the inevitable, however; things will carry on even in your absence. Ensure the things you do have control over are carried out as you would like them to be. Start the process now, so that when the time comes, you know with certainty all your affairs are in order.