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Probate: Easy as 1-2-3

Probate is the legal process of gathering and distributing a decedent’s assets to creditors and inheritors. Many people fear the process it can sometimes be tiring and complicated. Nonetheless, with the assistance of attorneys at law from McDonald & McDonald, probate can be as easy as 1-2-3.

The probate process has four main steps:

Filing a petition and notifying the beneficiaries
You should begin the probate process by filing a petition with a court of law. If the decedent left a will, the purpose of the petition is to register the will and appoint you as its executor. If the decedent didn’t leave a will, the petition seeks to appoint you as the administrator of the estate. Probate attorneys can help you with filling this petition. When filing this petition, you should notify all beneficiaries.

Gathering the decedent’s assets and notifying creditors
Once the court appoints you as the administrator or executor of the decedent’s will, you should take an inventory of all the decedent’s assets. After this, you are required to give written notice to the estate’s creditors. The notice should provide them with a window to make claims on the decedent’s assets. Probate lawyers can help you overcome hurdles when gathering the decedent’s assets.

Paying the decedent’s debts and taxes
You should verify the claims from creditors, and pay those that are legitimate. If you are not sure which claims are valid, you can contact probate attorneys for assistance. In some states, the administrator is allowed to sell estate assets to pay the decedent’s debts and taxes. If the estate is large, you might be required to fill federal and state estate tax return forms for the decedent.

Distributing the assets to the beneficiaries
After clearing the decedent’s debts and taxes, it is now time to ask the court for permission to transfer the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. You should distribute the assets according to the will. If there is no will, you should follow the federal and state succession laws.

The probate process will not always be smooth. For example, some beneficiaries can object to your appointment as the administrator, and some people can come up with false credit claims. Furthermore, you can be liable for illegalities in the probate process. Proper record keeping and assistance from experienced probate lawyers will make the process smooth. At McDonald & McDonald, we have accomplished attorneys at law ready to assist you. Contact us today