What to Know about Probate
Probate has a reputation for being expensive, lengthy, and difficult. While all three of these characteristics can be accurate, the probate process is necessary for the majority of estates. Probate can be very complicated and it is important to hire knowledgeable Bryan probate attorneys to help you through the process
Why Probate is Necessary
Probate is the process by which the court evaluates the status of an estate after death to ensure that all expenses to creditors, claims, and taxes are paid, and that the remaining assets are distributed to beneficiaries in accordance with the wishes reflected in the will. If an individual is named in the will to handle the estate, this person is termed the administrator. If no such person is named in the will, the court will name an individual, the executor. This individual is responsible for the handling of the estate's assets.
Dependent and Independent Administration
The instructions in the will may call for independent or dependent administration. If dependent administration is ordered, the administrator must request permission from the court for any significant decisions regarding the handling of the assets in the estate. This can prove very time consuming, expensive, and difficult. An independent administrator, on the other hand, has a much higher degree of autonomy and does not need to report to the court for each matter that arises. Moreover, the independent administrator is not required to post a bond. This is an insurance policy meant to protect the estate from carelessness or dishonesty on the part of the administrator.
Probate Is Not Always Necessary
Not all assets in an estate need to be probated. The following types of assets do not need probate:
- Assets held as community property with right of survivorship
- Proceeds from a life insurance policy
- Annuity benefits designed for the survivor
- Property that is held as joint tenancy with right of survivorship
- Bank accounts that have been set up to allow for transfer of assets immediately upon the holder's death
How Long You Can Expect Probate to Take
The probating of a small estate may take a half year or less. However, if an estate is sizable and there are claims against it, the probate process can take substantially longer. That said, it is not always necessary for all probate issues to be settled before some of the assets are distributed.
For Questions or Assistance with Probate
If you are involved with the probate of an estate, it is important that you have strong legal representation. Call the Bryan probate attorneys at Peterson Law Group to arrange a consultation: 979-703-7014 or 936-337-4681.
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