When someone passes away with an established estate plan may be subject to a process called probate. Without experienced legal representation, probate is complicated, confusing, and highly stressful. Below you will find a guide to probate proceedings and how legal guidance can make a stressful process as easy as possible.
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process of fulfilling a deceased individual’s remaining obligations, notifying beneficiaries of the death, and following the wishes of the deceased.
The probate court has multiple objectives:
- Resolving any debts tied to the estate.
- Taking inventory of and collecting all relevant assets of the estate.
- Identifying and contacting any beneficiaries of the deceased.
- Distributing assets in accordance with the terms of the estate planning documents.
Though this may sound simple and straightforward, numerous factors can complicate it in an instant.
After beneficiaries of the deceased individual’s estate are notified, they have the ability to dispute the validity of the will. Many family members do this when they feel as though they were unfairly treated or omitted from the inheritance. This can also occur when the will was not properly executed, or a family feels the deceased was pressured into making certain changes to the will.
Our firm has the knowledge and experience to help make sure your loved one’s wishes are upheld and all parties receive the intended inheritance.
When There is No Will
There are some instances in which a will was not drafted at all, leaving the court to adhere to intestacy laws. Intestacy laws dispose of your property how the state thinks you would want, not necessarily how you prefer. In most cases, the spouse will receive 50% of the property, while the other half of the estate would be divided equally amongst surviving children. By preparing an estate plan and sharing these plans with your family, you may avoid costly and hurtful litigation with your family.
How Gossen & Schaller, PPLC Can Help
Our goal is not merely to help people navigate through the probate process, but to avoid it when possible. With proactive and cost-effective estate planning, we can help make sure each legal document is drafted in a fashion to probate. At our firm, we aim to give our client’s families the most efficient asset dispersal process and minimize the possibility of any familial conflicts after you are gone.
If you have found yourself involved in a probate-related conflict or wish to begin establishing an estate plan of your own, get in touch with us today through our website or give us a call at (405) 267-9921 to schedule a consultation.