WHAT IS PROBATE LAW?
Probate is the court process that deals with the assets and death of a person after they die. There are matters that do not need to go through probate such as cases where there is a trust in place which avoids the need for probate.
If a person dies with a will and leaves an executor of that will, the executor will file an action in probate. They will pay off the debts that were in place at the time of death and then they will distribute the remaining assets to the named beneficiaries of the will.
Where there is no will at the time of death, a person can be appointed as an administrator by the court. They will then be responsible for collecting the assets and paying the debts of the person that has passed away. After the debts have been paid the property will be divided to the legal heirs of the decedent.
Where there is a dispute as to whether or not a will is valid, an action called a will contest may be filed. In these instances, the court will determine if the will is valid. If it is deemed to be invalid, the court may distribute the assets as if the person had died without a will.
TRUST VS PROBATE LAW
Probate is not our preferred option for dealing with a person’s assets and a trust can protect your heirs from having to go through probate. The entire case can take between 9 months to 1 ½ years, maybe even longer and all matters become a part of the public record.
With the exception of will contest matters, attorney fees are set by statute by the probate courts. The fees incurred are generally based on the size of the estate. If the executor or administrator has an idea of what the gross assets of the estate are, we can give a general estimate of what it will cost to finalize the probate matter.