Estate planning is probably not the first thing on your to do list. Not surprisingly, many people pass without an estate plan in place, or only a partial one. If your loved one has passed without a will or trust, or with assets that were not properly transferred into trust to avoid probate, you may need to probate his or her estate in order to lawfully pass it to the heirs.
Probate is a court process in which a person applies to be the executor of the estate (or the administrator if there was no will) with the purpose of taking control of the person’s assets, paying off any valid debts, and transferring the remaining assets to the person’s heirs. It can be a time-consuming and complicated process, and often heirs will disagree with each other over who is entitled to what, which may lead to litigation in court.
Depending on the asset and how it was held, a probate is not always necessary. Some property can pass outside of probate or can be transferred by an expedited process. If a loved one has passed and you are not sure whether you need to open a probate, call our office today to scedule a free initial consultation.