When a loved one passes away, his or her estate often goes through a court-managed process called probate or estate administration where the assets of the deceased are managed and distributed. In general, only the assets that are held individually in the decedent’s name will pass through probate. Certain types of assets are “non-probate assets” and do not go through probate.
Every probate estate is unique. Although the laws governing probate can vary from state to state, most probate process involves the following steps:
- Authenticating the last will and testament (if the decedent left a will).
- Filing of a petition with the proper probate court to appoint a personal representative/administrator, or Executor/Executrix (in the case a will exists), to oversee the probate process and to settle the estate.
- Notice to heirs under the will or to statutory heirs (if no will exists).
- Inventory and appraisal of estate assets by Executor/Administrator.
- Identifying potential creditor(s) and making payment of estate debt to rightful creditors.
- Sale of estate assets.
- Payment of estate taxes, if applicable.
- Final distribution of assets to heirs.
Okunade, LLP can help represent personal representatives/administrators or interested parties navigate through the probate process, including assisting clients in any litigation or disputes that may result during the process.