What is a Probate?
When you pass away without a trust, the values of your assets form your estate. This would include your money, real estate, and personal property, as well as your debts. These things do not distribute themselves, so someone must file for a probate of your estate. Simply put, Probate is the court-supervised process of distributing your assets. There are different levels of supervision from the court, depending on the complexity of the case. An informal probate case will have the least amount of involvement with the court.
How to Start
Typically, the individual who is the personal representative in you will is responsible for starting the probate. If there is no will, then usually the closest related family member will file. They will file several documents with the court, along with the original will. Someone at the court will review the documents, and if everything is in order, they will appoint the petitioner as the personal representative.
What is a Personal Representative?
This is the person you name in your will or that the court appoints; that is in charge of handling the distribution of your estate. Their duties may include, selling real estate, gaining access to accounts, distributing funds to beneficiaries, paying off creditors, canceling services, paying taxes, filing a final tax return, and keeping an accurate accounting of the estate assets. Property management during this time is especially shrouded in bureaucracy and red tape. It helps your whole family if you learn more about this crucial step in human affairs. Being caught unprepared can spell disaster in misappropriated land rights.
Whether or not the property is subject to probate depends on several different factors. This includes what type of asset it is and how it is titled. Assets such as payable on death accounts, life insurance policies, retirement plans with named beneficiaries, and property owned as joint tenants with right of survivorship all are excluded. If you have accounts and property titled in just your name, then a probate will be necessary to gain access.
This is just a very simple overview. If you want to learn more, you can visit our website at www.azprobatepreparer.com.
Learn about our process: https://wealthguardiangroup.com/wgLegalDocuments-4/probate/
DISCLAIMER: This article is for informational purposes only and should not in any way be interpreted as legal advice.