Distribution of resources takes place after the death of the property owner among the selected beneficiary or their heirs, as the law states. For that purpose, the assets of the decedent go through the process managed by the court, named probate process. The process is necessary as it facilitates in; proving the legitimacy of the will, appointing executor to manage the estate, finding heirs, inventory of the property of decedent, and property distribution of the dead person according to their will, or state law; in case of no will.
In this process the debts of the deceased is settled and the legal ownership, if it is owned completely by the departed person, is transferred to their beneficiaries and heirs. In case of will going through the process of probate, it is initiated when the executor of the will (nominee of the decedent) take the will for probate in the court of the same country the deceased lived or had property in.
Situation where the will is not present, the person needs to take court’s permission regarding appointing them as a proprietor of the estate. This individual is either the spouse or a mature child of the decedent, most of the time. When the court appoints them, they become the executor or manager of the estate, lawfully.
Four Steps to Probate
There are four steps that sum up the probate procedure which are discussed below.
- Petition the court and notify the heirs and beneficiaries
After the filing of the petition with the probate court the process begins. The court will consider the following options:
- Disclosing of the will to probate and employing executor
- Administrator of the state is employed in the situation where will is not present.
All the deceased’s heirs and beneficiaries will be notified about the court trails, and any opposition regarding the petition must be mentioned in the court. The hearing notice is also published in the local newspaper in order to let the decedent’s unidentified creditors be informed from the start.
- Taking estate’s inventory and notifying the creditors
After the court’s appointment, personal spokesperson is in charge of informing the estate’s known creditors and takes a record of the estate property. Legal creditors of the estate are informed through a written notice sent by the personal representative. Any claim regarding the property must be done before a certain period of time depending on the state the property is in. The inventory includes the property of the deceased that comprise of; real property, business interests, bonds, stocks, and many others.
- Paying off debts, taxes, and funeral expenses from the estate
Only justifiable claims of the creditors should be considered and pay them and final bills from the estate. Selling off the estate assets, by the personal representative, to fulfill the decedent’s obligation can occur in certain circumstance.
- Transfer of property title should be under laws of intestacy (in the absence of will)
Subsequently, after the waiting period of any claims by the creditor, the personal representative asks court for the transfer of the rest of the assets to the beneficiaries as mentioned in the will. In the condition where no will is present, transfer takes place according to the intestate succession laws.
Although people try to escape the probate process because it is time consuming, it is secure and guarantees long term success in the end thanks to its detailed nature.