Estate Planning Lawyer
For those who had a will, to settle the estate, the family has to go through probate. Probate is a legal process that determines the distribution of assets. If you are the executor of the will, then you are the one who has to handle probate. Every case is different so to determine your process and timeline may be initially difficult and require the assistance of a lawyer, like a probate attorney from Klenk Law. However, in most cases, there are a few common steps.
File a Petition
As the executor, you have to file a request in the deceased person’s county to begin probate. This paperwork requires you to acknowledge that you are the legal executor and that you represent the person’s estate. If there is a will, then you need to file that with the court, along with the death certificate. The court schedules a hearing to approve you as an executor. This hearing also allows others to object. Once complete, you can act on behalf of the estate.
Notify Creditors and Beneficiaries
In some states, you may need to file a public notification in the newspaper. Most states, however, require you to mail a notice to beneficiaries and creditors that the estate is in probate.
Make an Inventory
It’s your job as the executor to inventory all of the assets. The assets that are subject to probate include any real estate, personal effects, retirement accounts, bank accounts and stocks and bonds. Once you take inventory of all of the assets, you need to have said assets appraised so that you can get an accurate value of the estate.
If anyone owes money to the estate, collect these debts. If there any debts owed, then you need to decide how much needs to be paid. During this process, you will probably have to investigate the estate’s finances. You may need to go through emails, bank accounts and other documents to get an idea of the kinds of bills owed.
Once you have paid all of the debts and expenses, then you can begin to distribute the estate to the beneficiaries. All of the leftover property and assets will go to the heirs. Now, you would follow the will and distribute it according to the wishes of the person behind the will.
After distribution, it is time to close the estate. This is the only way that you can be released as an executor. You file the receipts and records to the court before you can request that the estate be closed.