When an estate or property owner will pass away, his estate cannot just be passed on to anyone is his family. There are procedures that have to be followed and paperwork to be taken care of so as to properly process the estate and distribute it. This process where the estate has to be assessed with the help of the court and legal system and passing it on is called a Probate process. Many types of assets have to undergo a probate process, but for now, we will talk about the processing of an Estate through a Probate.
1.) Inventory – In the early stages of the process, the personal representative or the executor is first tasked with doing an inventory of the estates of the decedent or the deceased person. This involves gathering all of the papers and documents regarding the estate and estate planning of the decedent. Along with the estate documents, there may also be a Last Will and Testament of the deceased or even a Revocable Living Trust. These papers have to be properly kept until there is an estate lawyer to help.
2.) Opening Probate Estate – When the inventory process is in done and all of the papers and documents have been kept properly and organized, the personal representative will seek an estate lawyer and meet with him in order to be able to go to the court and open the probate estate. With the presence of an estate lawyer, there will be legal help and he will also require that everyone from the family, beneficiaries, and representative to review the needed documents as well as sign them so that they can open the Probate estate.
3.) Value of Assets – When they are able to open the probate estate at court, the next thing to do is to get the date of death value of the every asset of the deceased person. Along with an inventory of the assets, this step is very important since there are states that require having the date of death values in the probate court. The time period for submitting the inventory and the date of death values in the probate court is in one to three months of opening the probate estate in court.
4.) Payment of Bills and Expenses – The reason why the date of death values are so important is because this will be needed in determining which assets can be used for paying of the debts of the deceased person. This involves the representative and the Estate Lawyer discussing with the beneficiaries regarding which assets can be sold so that the debt of the decedent and taxes of the properties may be paid off.
5.) Distribution – When the taxes have finally been paid, it is time to distribute the estate and remaining assets. The distributing is the most awaited part of the beneficiaries but it is only done during the last step of the probate to make sure the needed things like debts and taxes have already been taken care of. If distribution is done early, the representative will find himself paying for any expenses he didn’t take care of.