Probate Start to Finish Explained by LA Probate Law
Settling an estate in probate is a complicated process. Successful probate requires not only your legal knowledge, but also an understanding of real estate, tax and financial issues. Probate is the term meaning the administration of a deceased person’s affairs. Probate laws are designed to ensure that the deceased’s creditors get paid, that property and assets are properly distributed to heirs and that any disputes arising out of the estate are resolved. The following tips provide an overview of the procedures involved when dealing with probate provided by LA Probate Law.
Probate is the part of the court system that rules over the estate of a person who is deceased. In addition to the assets of the estate, the probate court has jurisdiction over the protection of minor children of the decedent and any trusts of which the decedent was the sole trustee. The word “probate” comes from the Latin root meaning “to prove,” underscoring one of the court’s main responsibilities–to identify the validity of a decedent’s will. Starting the probate process is a matter of invoking the court’s jurisdiction. Establish legal death. A LA Probate Law court has jurisdiction only in the affairs of a person who is legally deceased. In most cases, this is established by filing a authenticated or certified certificate of death from a government agency. In the absence of a death certificate, probate can be initiated with an authenticated report from a government agency in which the estate owner is declared dead. Also, a person missing for five continuous years and not found after diligent searching can also be declared legally dead for purposes of probate. Establish residency. In addition to subject matter, the court’s jurisdiction is also limited by geography. Probate is usually proper in the state and county in which the decedent resided. An affidavit of domicile from a successor might be necessary to establish the court’s jurisdiction. If the decedent’s residence is unknown or cannot be attested to, jurisdiction will likely fall to local court in the county in which the decedent perished or was declared deceased. File the will. Not everyone who dies with debts or property has a will, which is why every state has rules that govern the probate of an estate in which there is no will. The real work of the probate process is to identify the validity of any wills, as this will determine the applicable rules of succession.
Collect and inventory the deceased’s assets and belongings. The inventory list must be filed with the probate court. Handle any claims made against the estate. Dealing with probate requires paying the deceased’s debts out of the assets of the estate and, if any claims are disputed, participating in hearings before a probate judge to determine the validity of the debt and the amount to be paid. Prepare and file a final report. This report should list all assets, claims and any expenses paid. It should also propose a way of distributing any remaining assets to the heirs of the estate explains LA Probate Law. Distribute the remaining assets accordingly. Obtain receipts from the heirs following distribution and file with the probate court. As a beneficiary, it is not uncommon to encounter inaccuracies to the will in question, unscrupulous activities or even poor performance by an executor or administrator. Furthermore, the process of probate is usually anything but seamless, whether you encounter disagreements with other beneficiaries or if you feel that you are somehow being cheated or victimized by other beneficiaries, then it is simply vital to retain legal representation during this highly volatile time in your life. Probate litigation is often a necessary tool in order to ensure that your rights are fully protected during the probate process.
Probate opens soon after death and ends when outstanding debts are clear and the distribution of estate assets is complete. If the estate is small, a will is present and there are no family disagreements, then most states allow a personal representative of the family to handle probate matters without court supervision. In this case, closing probate is a simple matter of informing a county probate registrar that probate is complete by filing the proper paperwork. If probate occurs under court supervision, however, an attorney or family representative must ask for and receive court approval before probate can officially close. Contact your probate attorney or a representative from the probate court to get the appropriate closing statement forms says LA Probate Law. As an alternative, download and print closing statement forms from your district judicial branch website if your state provides this option. Read the closing statement form and instructions for completing the form carefully. Gather information you will need to complete the form, such as a listing of outstanding liabilities, if any, that remain against the estate. Fill out the closing statement form in full. Sign and date the closing statement form in the presence of a notary public and at the same time have the statement notarized. Include identification information for your probate attorney if you have one. Make enough copies of the form to send to all the heirs of the estate, as well as outstanding creditors, if any, and keep a copy for yourself. Mail or deliver the closing statement form in person to the probate court. Contact your probate attorney or a representative from the probate court to get the appropriate petition to close form.