Having a family member pass away is something that is so emotionally draining, but thinking about the next steps are right at the top of mind. So, if you are wondering what that next step is, we are recommending probate.
Probate is a court-supervised legal process that may be required after someone dies. Probate gives someone, usually the surviving spouse or other close family members, the authority to gather the deceased person's assets, pay debts and taxes, and eventually transfer assets to the people who inherit them.
If probate is necessary, the person named in the Will to serve as the Personal Representative. If there is no Will, or the person named in the will isn't available or willing to serve, the probate court will appoint an “administrator.”
Not everything will automatically go through probate. The obvious assets that will need to be probated are those with a title that is in the deceased name only. These assets might include bank accounts, investments, home, other real estate, vehicles, etc. Only the probate court can take your name off the title and put someone else's name on. Assets that generally do not go through probate are: 1) jointly owned assets that transfer to the surviving owner, 2) assets that have a valid beneficiary designation, and 3) assets that are in a trust.
Probate does not need to be a daunting and complicated process. Call us today and we will help you get started.