Let's Talk Probate

Everything you need to know about the process and how to get started.

What is Probate?

Probate is the term for a legal process in which a will is reviewed to determine if it is valid and authentic. Probate also refers to the general administering of a deceased person's will or the estate of the deceased person without a will.

Also, after an asset holder dies, the court appoints either an executor named in the will or an administer (if no will is available) to administer the process of the probate.

In probate, there are quite a few key players.

1. The Clerk of the Circuit Court

to which in the state or county the decedent was domiciled at time of descendants death.

2. Probate Attorney

to provide legal advice to the personal representative (PR) and family helping them through the probate process.

3. Personal Representative

or Executor

4. Circuit Judge



The Process

While the “will reading” is just a myth, created by certain industries and propagated through TV and movies, most people don’t know this until they have to go through it for themselves. To which there is no walk in the park. Completing this part of it will be the starting point for making initial arrangements for the execution of the will:


- Finding the original will

- Making copies for distribution

- Identifying the Personal Representative or Executor

- Discussions on the distribution of assets

In other cases, a will might not exist or the surviving spouse may have assets transferred to them. Whether one of these situations occurs or not, disputes may arise.

 



Duties of Named Personal Representative

This will involve the executor to perform these tasks (but not limited to):

- Collecting information on the deceased

- Searching property records

- Following up with individuals and parties referenced in the will

- Gathering tax returns, pertinent mail

- Determining whether probate is required or not

- Initiating the court probate process

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