Ex. Died with a Will

Example – Let’s assume the Decedent had a Will (PLEASE NOTE – this is a very simplified description of the probate process)

  1. If the Decedent had a Will, we will ask you to bring the original Will to our office so we can examine it to make sure it was properly drafted and satisfies several legal requirements. We will ask you to bring a death certificate and/or an obituary notice, if you have one.
  2. Next, we will determine the assets of the Decedent in order to determine the best probate process to use.
    1. For example, if the Decedent only owned real property and did not owe any debt, then we can use a process called a Muniment of Title to transfer the title of the real property according to the terms of the Will without appointing an executor or an administrator, thus saving the estate money.
  3. We will prepare an application to probate the Will and file it with the original will at the probate clerk’s office. The filing fee charged by the probate clerk’s office is approximately $250.00.
  4. The probate clerk’s office will publish the required notice of the application to probate the will.
  5. After ten (10) days have passed since the notice was published by the probate clerk, a hearing will be set and held to admit the Will to probate and appoint an Executor.The Executor is the person who handles the affairs of the estate.
  6. The Executor is required to sign an Oath stating he or she will perform the duties required of the Executor.
  7. The Executor will then obtain Letters Testamentary, which are extremely important. The Letters Testamentary allow the Executor to stand in the shoes of the decedent and do whatever the decedent could do (such as communicate with the bank). The Executor can then gather the probate assets of the estate and notify creditors of the estate.
  8. Probate Assets consist of assets that have a title that needs to be changed (for example, real property, cars, trucks, stocks) as well as bank accounts that do not have a designated beneficiary or name the estate as the designated beneficiary.
  9. Non-Probate Assets include accounts that already have a designated beneficiary such as life insurance policies, IRA’s, and joint bank accounts with rights of survivorship.
  10. The Executor is legally required to send a notice to creditors of the Estate of his or her appointment as Executor.
  11. The Executor is legally required to send a copy of the Will and the court order admitting the Will to probate to all of the beneficiaries named in the decedent’s Will.
  12. Once the Executor gathers all of the probate assets, the Executor must file an Inventory with the court describing the probate assets in the estate and their respective values as of the date of the decedent’s death.
  13. After the Inventory has been approved by the court, the Executor may pay the appropriate debts of the estate and then distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries named in the Decedent’s Will according to the terms of the Decedent’s Will.

To discuss the above example or any other questions related to probate, please contact Maverick Law to schedule an initial consultation.

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