When a loved one passes away, you'll have many thoughts going through your mind. At some point, you must turn your attention to this person's estate plan.
Did they have a will or a trust? With a will, there is no way around the probate process. Instead, this will move to the forefront in the near future. Furthermore, it's required in order for the distribution of assets to take place.
Before we go any further, remember this: The probate process can be uncontested or contested.
While everyone hopes for uncontested probate, this is not always the case. Instead, there are times when an heir, such as a child, contests the will. This is often the result of:
- Someone feeling that the decedent was improperly influenced.
- Someone who believes the decedent was not of a sound mental state when creating the will.
- The decedent did not follow proper legal procedures when drafting the will.
Although the probate process can and will differ from one case to the next, this typically includes the following:
- The collection of all probate property.
- Paying all taxes and debts owed by the estate.
- Collecting all remaining income, such as final paychecks and dividends.
- Settling any remaining disputes.
- Distributing property, as outlined to the will, to the heirs.
How much does it cost?
The cost of probate depends on a variety of factors, including whether it is contested or uncontested. It goes without saying that a contested process will drag on, meaning that the costs associated with it will also increase.
Common probate expenses include:
- Court costs
- Fees of the executor
- Attorney fees
After the death of a loved one, you hope to have enough time to grieve and celebrate this person's life. While doing so, you must understand how the probate process will unfold.
If you're the executor of the will, you have a variety of responsibilities. Even if you aren't, you may play a big part in the process, such as if you're in position to receive an inheritance.
Since the probate process can be so confusing, many people opt to consult with an experienced attorney. This allows them to move forward with confidence, knowing that everything is in order and that no mistakes are being made.