Acting as the personal representative for another may give you a sneak peek into the probate process. This vantage may help you craft your estate to help your loved ones through the process. What can you expect as you go through probate?
This court process takes an estate and ensures that money and property go where you intend. To help your family get through it may hinge on how well you execute your planning.
What does probate look like?
There are several standard steps to probate.
When someone dies, the personal representative’s duties begin by filing a notice and opening probate. A notice appears to inform potentially interested parties that probate is starting. The personal representative should inform all heirs named in the will.
After the judge authenticates the will and declares it valid, indexing all property, assets and debts begins. The personal representative must sign an affidavit regarding the validity of all items in the inventory.
Known creditors, such as lenders, must receive notice that probate is open. Some of the most common bills include:
- Medical debt
- Credit cards
- Mortgage and car loans
The creditors have a timeframe to file a claim for a share of the estate.
The personal representative negotiates and settles any and all creditor claims the court establishes as valid. This is also when anyone not named in the will may file a claim asking for a hearing.
The personal representative finally distributes the remaining assets and property to beneficiaries as indicated by the will.
Probate closes when the judge determines that no more money exists in the estate. The process may prove lengthy, so you may want to receive assistance from a seasoned professional.