What is probate?

During times of grief, individuals may be faced with a mix of emotions. The death of a loved one leads to a lot of emotional turmoil. Dealing with the idea of death in general is hard to think of. However, instead of avoiding it, it is better to plan for it. By planning for your estate, you can ensure that your possessions will be in good hands when you are gone. After you pass, your family will not have to worry about dealing with the distribution of your possessions. The probate process proves the validity of legal documents regarding estate administration. Probate involves the validation of legal matters regarding a deceased person’s estate.

What does a will include?

A will is a legal document that ensures a person’s wishes regarding their estate are followed after they die. Probate proves the legality of the will and allows the court to distribute the assets as they are outlined in the document. Before the deceased individual passes, they will have assigned someone as an executor to their estate. This person has to make sure that the proper possessions are given to the people named in the document. As an executor, they will have substantial responsibilities that require their cooperation.

What’s the difference between testate and intestate?

Testate means that a person dies with a valid will. The will has gotten the proper documentation and the Surrogate Court will oversee the probate of the will. Since the will has gone through the proper probate process, it proves that the will is valid and is a formal legal document.

If the will is contested, it may be sent to the Superior Court. When an individual dies without a will, it means they died intestate. A representative may be appointed by the state to oversee the administration of the estate. This person may be the closest living relative. Certain family members, such as a living spouse or children, may be entitled to the estate.

When do I begin the probate process after someone dies?

After the death of a loved one, individuals cannot begin the probate process until 11 days after their death. The original will and death certificate may be filed after this time period. These documents should be filed with the Surrogate Court in the county where the deceased lived at the time of death. The filing of the papers may be done by the executor of the will, any heirs, spouses, creditors or anyone else with a property right or claim against the estate.

The executor is the representative that has the legal responsibility to take care of the deceased person’s remaining financial obligations. They may be named in the will specifically or appointed by the court. Some of their responsibilities include providing accounting to the court, paying outstanding debts and taxes and collecting, protecting and distributing assets according to the will’s specification. If you have been assigned as an executor, it is a serious task to take on.

The dedicated and compassionate attorneys at Vigilante Law Firm, P.C. would be happy to provide you with assistance in your case and help you protect your future when so much is on the line. Contact us today to schedule a consultation so we can assess the specific circumstances surrounding your lawsuit.