Estate & Trust Administration

Use The Probate Process To Simplify Your Future

When it comes to dealing with a probate situation, things can be a bit challenging unless you’ve experienced it in the past. The basic definition of probate is the identification and gathering of information about the various assets that belonged to a deceased individual. This process, which is overseen by a court, involves paying off any debts that the deceased person had and ensuring that the remaining assets are willed to the appropriate beneficiaries to the estate. Initially, the finances pay for the probate proceedings. Next, the remaining finances are used to pay off debts. Finally, any money that is left is awarded to those who were designated to receive it upon the death of their loved one.

There are two basic forms of probate administration. It is highly recommended that you have an attorney on your side to avoid the potential family conflicts that could arise when dealing with inherited assets. The two forms are formal administration and summary administration. Both kinds of probate are supervised by a court. Probate assets are essentially all of the high-priced items that a deceased individual owned at the time of their passing. These may include real estate properties, bank accounts, annuities, and even life insurance.

To ensure that every beneficiary gets what they deserve in a fair way, the probate process is vital to go through. Having a will makes things much easier to understand, especially when determining which family members get which assets. However, it is imperative to have a lawyer help you out at all times. The only way to pass probate assets to the beneficiaries is if the will is properly admitted to a probate court. Otherwise, this process will never get started.

Probate is also important to help pay off any outstanding debts owed by a deceased individual prior to money being given to family members. This is why the creditors are essentially the first beneficiaries when someone passes away.

When a loved one passes away, the last thing you probably want to be doing is thumbing through a huge stack of legal documents to determine what the next steps are. That means you should seriously consider having an attorney at your side and going through the probate process to avoid any issues with your relatives. To help in this process, make sure your will is completely updated with current information. You should also get some assistance when trying to understand the legal meaning of a will.

Those who take part in the probate process include the Clerk of the Circuit Court, the judge at the designated Circuit Court, personal representatives to an estate, legal representation for all parties involved, those who are claiming finances from the deceased individual, and the IRS. But it is the judge who makes the final call on the case.

Change The Way Your Family Handles Death – Have a Will

Death is not a topic that many people dwell on and in fact most people avoid the subject. Everyone knows that this part of life is just a natural part of living and that it will happen to everyone eventually. Death however does bring up another topic of discussion; a will. Most parents probably remember that their parents didn’t have a will and have no clue how to remedy this challenge. Usually if one parent dies, the estate is passed on to the surviving parent and the children, but if the deaths of the parents are in a close timeframe or together, such as a accidental crash, homicide, fire or flood, these are examples where a will is very important for the estate and the remaining family members.

The normal procedures that follow a death include determining all debts of the estate and marshalling assets to settle the outstanding debts by an appointed administrator or a personal representative of the family. Debts usually pertain to hospital bills, credit cards, personal loans and estate administration fees.

This first step will pay all the outstanding debts and place into the hands of the remaining heirs what is left over. Determining all persons who are eligible to receive the remaining benefits from the deceased’s estate is the burden of the personal representative. The heirs generally are a spouse and surviving biological children. Usually the spouse will receive one half of the remaining assets, while the other is equally split between the children. In the event that no spouse or children are living, but the parents are, they will receive the remaining assets of the estate.

There is also a small chance that the personal representative might not be able to locate any next of kin and this does happen sometimes. If this is the case, the estate is then turned over to the state where the deceased resided in. It is really important that everyone understand what this actually means. Without a document stating your last will and testament the state will decide how your assets will be disbursed after you are deceased. The real facts are that death is real it does happen to not just the old but the young as well in often untimely and unexpected ways. It does not discriminate. This alone should motivate anyone to secure a will with as estate lawyer regardless of the value of your estate and you should always make timely adjustments to the will when necessary in the form of updates and changes according to your wishes.

Many are the nightmarish stories of persons who didn’t have their will updated after a divorce or before an entity needed to be removed from the will. These circumstances will certainly alter who gets what according to the will and not what the deceased intended. Life doesn’t always have a guarantee of tomorrow as any cemetery is undeniable proof of this living fact. Unless you already have all the pieces of your life sorted out via a will, picking up the pieces of your life by others can be a troubling and unnecessary experience after you are gone.

A valid will is your best defense to ensure that your wishes most likely will not be the center of a court battle or legal action that could put some of your loved ones into an early grave with undue stress and worry or drag on for years and years. If it is settled there is usually only a fraction of the estate left for anyone to enjoy. This scenario has turned loving family members into feuding rivals. Never decide to do as your parents did, if they didn’t have a will to divide your assets. Let all your loved ones know your intentions and wishes before you are gone, but have it in writing by as estate planner. Too many times children take these issues for granted without much thought. Be smart and help your loved ones enjoy what you leave behind by having a will ready.

Problems That Arise In Estates

Dividing an estate after someone’s death comes with its own fair share of controversies and heart-aching experiences that you hardly wish to go through. A Last Will and Testament would possibly decrease the tension as it contains the wishes of the deceased and must be respected. But in the event where someone dies without writing a Will, it leaves room for a lot of complications.

It is a common belief among attorneys that the problems that arise when dividing an estate after the death of someone do not necessarily need to be taken into the corridors of justice. Rather it can all be solved out of court. Personal conflicts and family feuds are the common complications that come with settlements. As counselors will agree, most of these issues can be solved amicably if only people would listen to each other, have peaceful exchange of words and overall portray a human heart. However, this advice often falls on deaf ears.

It is a widespread belief that the immediate heirs are the cause for much of the trouble. True, in some cases, but the majority of complications that crop up during estate settlements are attributable to interference from the other family members of the heirs. In most discussions with persons who have experienced family feuds during the settlement process, this kind of interference more often crops up.

This is as a result of the demands made by the not immediate heirs to acquire something. In some instances, such demands are not meant to destabilize relationships, but you find that such requests or demands from people with close ties to the heirs may build tension that eventually leads to conflict. To solve such issues, it is best that only immediate heirs be involved in the division process when going about estate settlement. In fact, the family members of the heirs should stay away from the division process.

Another problem that leads to conflict is when one heir starts removing the assets from the estate without an overall agreement reached among all the heirs. In some cases, one heir may proceed early in time and take their desired property before other heirs can notice. This is done out of sheer greed at times.

In most cases, early removal of property by one of the heirs results in mistrust hence conflict between all the parties involved. It is important that nothing is removed early prior the official settlement process. To guarantee this, common sense dictates that all the property of the estate be kept under lock and key with the consent of other heirs.

Legal experts can bear witness that character differences play a major role in the rise of conflicts related to the process of dividing an estate after someone has passed away. If the heirs cannot understand their personality differences and accommodate each other under peaceful co-existence, then the division process is bound to be marred by disagreements and derision between the parties involved.

The solution to this type of problem is trying to understand the personality traits of other inheritors involved in the division process. By understanding the basic characters of each party involved, each heir will know how best to communicate with other heirs based on their personality styles. By observing this, a lot of conflicts that are caused by misunderstanding among the heirs involved will eliminated.