Probate is a process meant to ensure that a decedent’s Will is genuine and that the executors of estates fulfill their duties under the law. However, the process has a reputation of being lengthy and complicated, and submitting an estate to probate is not always the best option. In fact, many estate planning tools can help to limit the length of probate or avoid it altogether, which could help to quickly transfer property to heirs with minimal court interference.
If you wish to minimize stress for your loved ones after you pass, speak with a Wake Forest probate lawyer. A skilled attorney can help create estate plans that limit the impact of the probate process. For those dealing with probate after the death of a family member, our legal team can also assist in navigating the process.
Probate begins when a party introduces a Will to the court, along with proof of the testator’s death. After determining the legitimacy of the Will and other testamentary documents, the court will approve an executor. This person oversees the estate administration, including paying debts and distributing property. The probate court can also monitor the executor’s actions to ensure they are properly fulfilling their duties.
Probate is not always necessary. For instance, if the decedent jointly owned all their property with a spouse, that person can immediately take control of the property in question. Under North Carolina General Statutes § 28A-28-1, this process is known as summary administration.
Additionally, probate may not be necessary if an estate has a value of less than $20,000. An experienced local attorney could provide more information about when and why probate may be necessary.
When probate becomes necessary, it is important to understand how to initiate proceedings and what your legal rights are during the process. Probate begins when a party submits a Will to the court. The court will then issue notices to all potentially interested parties. Those parties have the right to ask the court to consider the validity of a Will before moving forward. If you are an interested party in an estate, a well-practiced attorney could provide further guidance at this point in the probate process.
If you were appointed as an executor, a skilled lawyer could also help with administering the estate according to the terms of the Will. This role could include the following actions:
An executor has a duty to both the court and the estate to properly perform these duties. A dedicated attorney can explain every aspect of this role to executors beginning the probate process in Wake Forest.
The probate process can be complex and confusing without an extensive legal background. In fact, an estate in probate can take months to resolve, delaying the use of a home or distribution of money.
Fortunately, not every estate needs to go through probate. A knowledgeable attorney could explain the exceptions for probate and help create a plan to avoid it in the future. Legal guidance can also help ensure a quick and efficient resolution for those who have begun the probate proceedings. Contact a Wake Forest probate lawyer today to discuss your situation and get answers to any questions you may have.