What is Probate?
Updated: Oct 19, 2021
A new client of ours came to me recently, all up in arms, about what she referred to as “a really complicated court process” that she and her family were having to go through. Sadly, her uncle passed away a few weeks earlier without a Will, and the family had to work with the court to lay out the ground rules for what should happen next with his small but important estate. Naturally, I knew immediately that she was talking about Probate.
As I explained to her, Probate is one of those things that everyone wants to avoid if they can. But there’s also a very good reason that it exists. So if you find yourself having to navigate this process, please keep reading.
More importantly, give Caitlyn Ashley Law in Denton, TX, a call. No one should go through the Probate process alone.
What is Probate, exactly?
Probate is the legal process that comes after a person has passed away — regardless of whether there was a Will in place or not — and involves administering an estate and legally transferring a deceased person’s assets and property to their family members or beneficiaries. It is absolutely necessary from the standpoint that all the court is trying to do is determine who is the rightful owner of a deceased person’s assets, which can include everything from money to physical property, precious family heirlooms, and other items of value.
• Validates an existing Will
• Determines next steps when there isn’t a Will
• Resolves any creditor claims
• Assigns an executor or administrator
• Creates an estate administration
With all that said, it can feel rather overwhelming when someone else is deciding the future of your loved one’s stuff. And we’re not going to lie: Probate can be a confusing, complicated, drawn-out, and emotional process for everyone involved.
But you can make the process a whole lot easier by, at minimum, having a legal and carefully crafted Will in place. Having a Will in place helps the court easily determine ownership and beneficiaries since everything is spelled out before your death. You can also avoid Probate entirely by having a Living Trust. Unlike Wills, these estate planning documents protect assets under its umbrella and keep them from going through Probate.
Call Caitlyn Ashley Law today!!
Having a plan for the future is the most important gift you can give yourself and your family. Granted, none of us will ever know for sure what is around every corner in life. And just thinking about the what-ifs — what if I were to die or become incapacitated tomorrow; what if my child with special needs has no one to care for her; what if all my “stuff” isn’t passed onto the right people — can be overwhelming. But having a plan that accounts for your family’s unique circumstances, puts your affairs in order, has concrete solutions to your concerns, lays out your wishes and goals, and protects your family’s future provides peace of mind for the road ahead.
Caitlyn Ashley Law in Denton, Texas, will counsel you on which documents best suit your needs and ensure they are flexible enough to meet your changing needs for years to come.