LA Probate Law Discusses the Role of Probate Courts
Probate court is the office where all LA Probate Law issues are handled. The probate court handles all matters of probate, right from admitting the petition for probate until issuing the order for transfer of property to heirs and beneficiaries. In most states probate courts function exclusively. [In some states such as Massachusetts, Probate and Family Courts function as one unit with two compartments; Probate and Family Courts take up additional issues such as birth and death, marriage, domestic violence, child abuse, adoption, separation and divorce, maintenance etc]. A typical probate court has a presiding Judge, a supervisor and a few clerical employees.
Main Functions of the Probate Court
The court receives the “Petition for letters of administration” if there is no will, and “Petition for Probate of Will and Letters Testamentary” otherwise. These and the death certificate are submitted along with the prescribed fee. Probate court cases can be filed with or without an attorney. Then the Judge conducts probate hearings, and issues “”letters of administration”” [or “letters” as they are also called], to administer the estate or to admit and execute the will says LA Probate Law. When necessary, the judge holds hearings and clarifies queries raised by issuing written directions called “”orders””.
What happens during the probate process?
The will is “proved” and delivered to the court. The deceased person’s will can be proved by an affidavit made under oath by the witnesses to the will. If such an affidavit is unavailable, the personal presence of the witnesses will be required in court to testify that at the time the will was signed, the deceased person was of sound mind and knew what he or she was doing. A personal representative is selected. A personal representative is someone who handles the deceased person’s affairs. A will generally names a personal representative who, if willing to serve and otherwise qualified, will be approved by the court. If a person dies without a will, the court will select the personal representative, usually the spouse, an adult child or another close relative. If none of those people are available or willing to be the personal representative, the court may choose a bank, trust company or lawyer. A notice to creditors is published in a local newspaper. This public notice to creditors tells the creditors that they have four months to bring any claim against the estate for debts the deceased person owes them. The personal representative also gives written notice to all known and possible creditors. The heirs and people named in the will are notified of the probate proceeding. Assets are identified and an inventory is prepared and filed with the court. The personal representative works to identify and value the deceased person’s assets. Depending upon the type of assets and the kind of records left by the deceased person, this step can be quite straightforward — or more difficult and time consuming explains LA Probate Law. Debts are paid. The personal representative ensures that creditors are paid. Creditors must be repaid from the estate before the remaining estate assets can be distributed to the rightful beneficiaries. The personal representative prepares state and/or federal tax returns and any inheritance, gift and estate tax returns and pays any taxes due. The personal representative prepares and submits an account to the people named in the will, the heirs of the deceased person and the court. The account shows all money paid out from the estate and all money collected by the estate. It also contains a narrative explaining the important actions taken in connection with the probate of the estate. After court approval of the account and payment of all unpaid probate expenses, the deceased person’s assets are distributed to the people and entities (such as charities or trusts) named in the will or, if the person died without a will, to the heirs of the deceased person.
Based on the court appointed executor’s [or the decedent-nominated personal representative’s] papers, the court will verify whether the will was written by the decedent himself and that all rules and ethics have been followed when preparing the will. Then it will validate the will. Estate administration: Based on the court appointed administrator’s papers of submission, the court will identify, inventory and appraise all the properties. Guardianships of Minors or mentally ill: If the heirs are minors or mentally ill, the court appoints a guardian for them. General Petitions: It will review and hear when needed, all the petitions involved in probate. It includes petition from heirs, creditors and anyone who is involved in the process. The LA Probate Law court administers, through the personal representative, the sale of real estate, tangible property [vehicle, jewelry etc] and intangible property [stocks and shares, equities etc]. It records the total assets of the decedents. Let’s call these total assets “A”. Then it oversees the payment of taxes, money etc. to be paid by the decedent to the government or to creditors. Let’s call the total taxes and money paid to creditors as “B”. Then it oversees the inventory of the decedent’s remaining assets [A – B from above], validates and issues an order to the personal representative to complete the probate. Based on this, the personal representative disburses the assets and obtains the Receipts and Waivers, and files the Declaration of Completion of Probate to the Court. Thus concludes the probate process.