Probate court is one of the specialized types of courts, which is dealing with the debts and property of a person who has passed away. The main objective of a probate court judge is to take a look at the debts that the deceased person has obtained and make sure that all the creditors are paid accordingly. If there are any remaining assets left after the payments to the credits, the beneficiaries will be able to get them. In fact, the assets will be properly distributed among the beneficiaries in such a situation.
What exactly is probate?
Before you understand what is probate court, you need to understand what exactly is meant by probate. Probate refers to the legal procedure, where a court will be able to take a look at the distribution of assets that belonged to a deceased person. You will be able to discover specialized probate courts operating in numerous states.
In some of the states, the probate court is called in different names. For example, you will be able to see names such as chancery court, orphan’s court, and surrogate’s court being used by the different states. Regardless of the name, all of them are catering to one main objective, which is to ensure that the assets are distributed in a fair manner among the beneficiaries, after making all the obligation payments to the creditors.
The probate court would usually appoint a person and he will be able to take complete control over the assets of the deceased person. This is where it is possible to ensure that all the debts are paid in an appropriate manner. Then the same person will be able to divide the remaining assets among beneficiaries as well.
What would happen during probate if there is no will?
If there is a will, the assets can be distributed accordingly to it. But if there is no will, things would become trickier. That’s because the property will be distributed to the next of kin of the deceased person. This will be fully determined by the probate law. In fact, this is one of the most important aspects that you can find in probate law as well. It is called the law of intestate succession.
It has the ability to properly outline the way how the next of kin will be able to inherit the spouse. In here, the spouse of the deceased person will be able to get a part of the property owned by the decedent. On the other hand, the law would further break down to what the siblings, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, and the siblings will be able to inherit.
It is also important to understand that the probate law would vary from one state to another. Due to the same reason, you should get in touch with a lawyer in your state and get a clear understanding of the law that you will need to adhere to. This is the most effective method available for you to refrain from facing any complications while trying to deal with the probate law.
What would happen for probate with a will?
What would happen if a person dies with a will? In this kind of situation, the will act as the last statement. Hence, the property will be distributed according to the way how it is described in the will. But if the deceased person has debt, the probate court will pay attention to the will. Here, the probate court would initially check and confirm if the will is still valid or not.
If there is a will, the surviving spouse would be able to receive a portion of the property. This will be called the effective share of the surviving spouse. However, this amount would vary from one state to another as well. That’s why you should work closely with a probate lawyer and get to know about the conditions that exist in your state.
Understanding the probate process
The overall probate process would begin when a person files a petition. In most instances, family members or one of the lenders will go ahead and file this petition. Then the case will be taken to the probate court. If you happen to go to a probate court, you need to understand what is a probate court. Based on that understanding, you will be able to get yourself familiar with the actions that are taking place within the probate court.
If there is a will, it is important to file a copy of that will along with the petition. Then the probate court will be able to consider the will and proceed with the rest of the work that will be conducted at the probate court. In some of the states, you will be able to discover probate court forms. If your court is offering such a form, it would be possible to navigate through the proceedings with ease. That’s because the probate court form will provide you with a clear understanding of what you should be doing.
The probate court will then issue an order, where a person will be appointed. This person will be representing the estate. Here, the appointed person will be usually called the executor or personal representative. However, there are also situations where that person is called the administrator. If there is no will, the appointed person will usually be called the administrator.
It would be the responsibility of this personal representative to take care of all the administrative work. In other words, he will have to open the estate bank accounts, arrange public notices and publish them within the newspapers, determine the validity of all the claims that are put forward by the creditors, sell the assets if there is a need, send notices to the beneficiaries, fill all the court documents and file the last tax return for the deceased person. After doing all these things, the executor would usually transfer the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.
The probate court will be able to provide relief to the creditors as well as the loved ones of a deceased person who will inherit the assets. It is important to have a clear understanding of the nature of work that is done by the probate court and act accordingly. Then you will be able to get all the support that you need from the probate court in an effective manner. To overcome complications associated with this process, you should always be working along with an experienced lawyer. Then you will not come across any troubles.