What is a Will?
In most states, as soon as people reach 18 years of age, the state grants them certain rights. One of the most important rights is the distribution of personal property. Every man wants his personal belongings or property to be given away to the person he likes or wants to give. Rich people have huge estates which need to be properly handled and taken care of even after the death of the owner. An owner can divide his property in a ‘Will’. This is a written statement signed by the owner and is also called the ‘Last Will and Testament’. The owner of this legally valid Will is called the Testate. The person who carries out this will is called the Testator. This has to be filed with the State Division of Probate. The terms of the Will are decided by the owner and are carried out only after his death. The state makes sure that all his wishes are carried out to the last detail. The people who are entitled to receive the deceased’s assets are known as beneficiaries. Generally the whole process of asset distribution takes place under the supervision of the State Division of Probate so that no rightful beneficiary is deprived of his rights. The laws of every state regarding probate differ a lot. There are many aspects and conditions which have to be fulfilled so that the Will is valid. Check out the blogs of LA Probate Law to know more about these laws.
Why should you write a Will?
You may be confused about the importance of a Will. You may think that a ‘Will’ will be of no use to you as you will not be living at that time to witness the proceedings. But if you are leaving behind a huge house and you have not named any beneficiary then it might create huge problems for your family. There may be bitter quarrels regarding the ownership of the house which may lead to discord and unrest among family members. At the end, they might all decide to break up and go their separate ways. Once you have written a Will, then your family members will know about your wishes and desires. They will know what you had planned for them and there will be no scope for any disagreement or quarrels. Drawing up your ‘Will’ will also save you and your family from ‘Intestacy’. This is a condition when the owner dies before making any binding declaration. Intestacy Laws are different from state to state. Such laws may either usurp your property altogether or may distribute your property among the family members in an inappropriate way. If you go through LA Probate Law, you will get to know various details of Intestacy laws or Law of descent and distribution.
Many a times the surviving family is not satisfied with the Will and its contents. They feel that their position has been threatened or they have not been treated fairly. In this situation, they can contest the Will and claim it to be invalid. Then these cases move to a probate court where the Judge decides what should be given to whom. Not many states encourage these kinds of claims as courts do not believe in interfering with the last wishes of the deceased individual. Only if the family is able to give substantial evidence that the owner or the concerned individual was mentally incompetent during the time he was writing the Will, the court can invalidate the Will and take up the responsibility of dividing the property upon itself. LA Probate law can provide you with a better understanding of probate courts and their functions.
What is a Probate?
Generally the deceased person will entitle a person or a family member who will take care of all the proceedings and dealings related to the Will and the estate. This person is named as the Executor. LA Probate Law states that in case the owner has not named any particular individual as the executor then a family member can come forward and assume the responsibility of managing the assets. This person will be called as the administrator. He has to get the approval of a probate court beforehand. Almost all states mark an upper limit on the value of the estates. If the total cost of the estate is more than a certain specified amount then the executor or administrator has to ask permission from a court in order to manage the estate. This complete process is termed as probate. The court grants them the right to execute the various issues of the estate and also provides them with essential documents. This set of documents is called a grant of probate in case of an executor and a letter of administrator for the administrator. These documents are a proof of the approval of the court.
Obtaining a probate can be a lengthy process. It basically depends on the complexity of the estate distribution. Too many debtors and beneficiaries can lead to a lot of confusion. If too many family members get involved in the process, then also the procedures can become quite tedious. If you are someone who is seeking a contested probate then you will definitely need expert help. Consult a professional who is aware of the various sides of LA Probate Law and you will be saved from a lot of worries.