Your 40s are a busy time. You probably are well into your career. Maybe you have a family. It’s also a time when people tend to start having to care for or lose their parents, meaning you need to know about probate law.
Probate law is something most people simply don’t think about until the need arises – meaning the death of a parent of spouse. But every 40-something should be familiar with a few ins and outs of probate law, so when the need arises, you are prepared.
Being thrown into the probate law system can be confusing and emotional. It can also be costly, if you aren’t prepared.
Here are five things every 40-something needs to know about probate law. Read on:
What is probate law?
First of all, probate – in a nutshell – is a process. It’s how the debts and estate of the person who died are settled. It starts with an executor – usually named in a will. That person takes the will – if there is one – to probate court to start the process. No will? A family member or attorney requests that someone be appointed to the position – normally, this is a spouse, partner or surviving adult child.
What happens next?
After the process begins, there are a few basic “next steps.” Some of these steps depends on the size and value of the estate and also, the people involved in the estate and in the will. Generally, if there are no disputes, the process is smooth. The executor will do an inventory of assets and debts. Next, those debts and bills must be settled by the executor. It’s important to note that these debts come from estate funds – not from the executor’s or the surviving family members’ pockets! The third and usually final step is for the executor to distribute the property according to the deceased’s will and wishes. An executor can’t do this until the will is “probated,’ meaning the court signs off on it.
Do I need an attorney?
This depends on the size and complicated nature of the deceased’s estate and whether there is a will or disputes among family members. It’s never a bad idea to consult with an experienced probate attorney, however, because it can set your mind at ease.
How long does it take?
It depends on many factors – the size of the estate, whether there was a will, if anyone is contesting anything – but for the most part, the probate law process takes about six months.
Should I consider estate planning for my family?
Estate planning, especially establishing a trust, can make the probate process smoother. The legal experts at Behal Law Group can help you with organizing your assets and minimizing the impact of estate taxes.
Behal Law Group
If you are in need of an experienced probate law attorney, Behal Law Group is here for you. Contact us today.