The probate process may not be something you want to think about, but as you age this is a detail you will want to consider with great interest.
Probate is the legal process that takes place after someone passes away. If a loved one passes on or you are named the executor of a will, you may be left to deal with many details of the probate process including but not always limited to:
- Proving in court that the will of the deceased is valid
- Having the property appraised
- Identifying all property left behind by the deceased
- Paying all taxes and debts
- The distribution of property as outlined by the will
Generally speaking, the probate process includes plenty of paperwork. In most cases, attorneys are also involved.
While this may sound very confusing, the probate process is actually simple to understand.
After somebody dies, the executor of the will files the appropriate documents with the local probate court.
The executor is responsible for providing the validity of the will, while also taking care of some or all of the details listed above.
Depending on the situation, the probate process can take anywhere from a couple months to a year or longer.
What if there is no Will?
If the deceased did not leave behind a will or the will does not name an executor, the probate process can become more confusing. At this point, the court must name somebody responsible to handle the process. This responsibility is typically passed on to the closet relative or the person who is named in the will to receive the majority of the assets.
Can I Help my Family Avoid Probate in Bellevue Washington?
When you plan in advance, you can do your part in helping your family avoid the probate process. This is a big deal for many reasons, including the fact that the probate process takes time to complete and will cost money in attorney fees.
By implementing a probate-avoidance strategy, you are taking the steps necessary to help your family avoid this upon your death.
Most people begin to consider this as they near retirement age, if they own significant assets, and/or if they are in poor health.
No matter if you are in the process of creating a probate-avoidance plan or in the midst of a probate case following the death of a loved one, hiring an experienced and knowledgeable attorney would be in your best interest.
This person can answer your questions related to the probate process, regardless of the situation, while helping you understand the steps to take as well as your rights.