How an experienced probate estate lawyer can help
You have a family member that recently died, and might have left behind a pet, a home, bank accounts, and personal property that has sentimental and significant financial value. You may have also found some outstanding credit card debt and medical bills while sorting through the mail.
After payment of burial expenses, you have to figure out what to do with the remaining assets and debts that the deceased person acquired over the course of their life. While this is a common scenario, what to do next is not one size fits all.
Excellent and thorough services provided….highly recommend. – Wendy C.
Probate Estate Attorney
Contact us now for a free consultation and see how an experienced attorney at law can help you with your probate estate case.
1. Find the Trust
You may find a trust titled in the name of the deceased person. Trusts are usually part of comprehensive estate plan. The trust names a trustee and tells the trustee how the assets are to be distributed and how debts are to be paid.
2. Make sure the Trust is Properly Funded
It will be easy for the trustee to distribute the assets and pay the outstanding debts, if all assets are properly held by the trust. To see if an asset is held in the trust, look at account statements. The accounts will be titled in the name of the trust. Every financial institution may title trust accounts using different variations of the trust name.
If this step was taken, nothing else needs to be done. It is likely that court proceedings will be unnecessary.
Please call our office if some assets were not put in the trust, If you are confused about the language of the trust, the role of the trustee, if you believe the trustee is acting unethically and have concerns about the allocation of the assets or the payment of debts.
1. Locate the Will
After sorting through legal documents, you find a Will. Before you can do anything with the Will, make sure it is valid. The Will must have been signed by the deceased person and have witness signatures. If not, see below “invalid will, no will or no trust.”
2. Call us!
The Will must be filed with the Clerk and a probate must be opened with the Court. The Court will use the terms of the Will to dictate how assets are to be disbursed and give creditors an opportunity to file a claim against the estate. The executor has to provide an accounting of all assets and debts held within the estate. At the conclusion of the case, assets can be disbursed pursuant to the terms of the Will and a report must be provided to the Court.
If you find a Will, bring it to our office, we do the rest. We will prepare all reports to the Court, dispute improper claims filed by creditors seeking to take money from the estate, deal with real estate and mortgage issues and help with any distribution questions you may have.
Invalid Will, No Will or No Trust
1. Call Us Immediately For Help With A Probate Estate Case!!!
If a person dies having no will, no trust or the Will was invalidated, then that person has died intestate. A Probate Court proceeding is necessary to determine who the heirs are, what assets and debts are held by the estate. If there are any assets remaining at the conclusion of these proceedings, the Court determines who is properly entitled to receive the remaining assets pursuant to the State’s Intestacy Laws.
This process can be time-consuming and difficult, especially when dealing with real estate and mortgages that are left behind.
If this is your situation, call us as soon as possible. You don’t want to wait. Banks will not give you access to the deceased person’s bank accounts and mortgage companies will not speak with you about any real estate unless an estate is opened and an administrator is named. You want to make sure that you do not lose any real estate to foreclosure and have access to deceased person’s accounts to pay any necessary costs, as soon as possible, which may include a mortgage.
If you concerned about your loved one having to do this for you after you pass, please take a look at our estate planning page for help.