Probate is the legal process that takes place after someone dies, whether there is a will or not, to ensure that possessions and property go the intended people and that all taxes or debts are paid in full. In addition to the supervision of the distribution of assets and the authorization of payment to creditors, probate court also handles various matters including confirmation of an executor or estate administrator, the inventory of assets, and resolution of disputes.
One of the main actions during probate is to change the title of assets that were owned by the deceased person so they can be properly distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries. Assets cannot be transferred without the names on the titles being changed. In general, the probate court is the only institution authorized to change the title of assets that were owned by a deceased person. Jointly owned property, life insurance with beneficiaries, or assets owned through a properly established revocable living trust, are usually not subject to probate.
Some estates, including those with a high value or with complex assets, are more complicated and time consuming to probate. The processes of both probate and estate administration can be very overwhelming for those who are appointed as an estate’s administrator, and often require an in-depth analysis of the decedent’s estate, especially when property, a business, or retirement accounts are involved. Estate administration also requires extensive paperwork and a thorough analysis of every aspect of the decedent’s estate. It is always advisable to consult with a lawyer to properly probate a will.
Probate and Estate Administration Processes
The following is a list of the various processes that need to be addressed during the probate process:
- Review and validation of the will
- Appointment/acknowledgement of the executor or personal representative
- Gathering assets and the documentation to determine the value of the estate
- Paying bills of the estate
- Identifying beneficiaries
- Distributing assets including personal properties
- Filing taxes and final accounting
- Title and deed transfers
- Liquidating property
- Handling any probate litigation or contesting of the will
Experienced Estate Administration Attorneys
Staack, Simms & Reighard, PLLC, the probate and estate administration attorneys in Clearwater, Florida, knows that many times due to complex assets, out of state properties, or any number of extenuating circumstances, the probate process can be time-consuming, paperwork intensive, and extremely complicated. In addition, there are also numerous reasons why an estate might be contested. We understand how to effectively resolve contested issues, and work diligently to protect the wishes of the decedent through comprehensive research and the assistance of experts in the applicable fields.
Dealing with the court system and legal documentation is confusing and difficult, especially after the loss of a loved one. We are here to make the process as smooth as possible. The firm of Staack, Simms & Reighard, PLLC is skilled at streamlining the probate and estate administration procedure in a timely, efficient manner and providing cost-effective representation for our clients.