Your life can be turned upside down any time a close family member passes away. Despite your grief, there are important issues that must be resolved regarding your loved one’s estate. For instance, initiating and navigating the probate process is essential.
The probate process in Moorestown is designed to validate wills, pay creditors, and distribute estate assets. This court process is as important as it is complex. Any mistakes made during the probate process could have significant consequences for the beneficiaries as well as the personal representative tasked with managing the estate. Given these risks, it is important to seek guidance from an experienced probate attorney when handling these steps.
Validating a Will and Beginning the Probate Process
Before the courts can take any steps regarding a will, it must be validated. Validation is necessary to determine if the will meets all of the requirements set out by law. If a will cannot be validated, the probate process cannot continue. This is also a stage where challenges to the will by beneficiaries or other parties might take place. This type of litigation can hold up the probate process.
Taking Inventory of Estate Assets
The executor to an estate cannot distribute the proceeds of an estate until they know what assets the estate owns. This requires an inventory of all estate assets, including personal and real property. A proper inventory should account for businesses, vehicles, and any other property referenced in the will.
Then, an executor must discover and value the assets and liabilities of the estate as part of the inventory process. Executors are also responsible for sending notices to all creditors stating that the decedent has died and asking parties with claims against the estate to submit them to the probate court within a certain time period.
The executor will then accept or reject each claim before paying accepted claims out of the estate funds. Once all claims against the estate have been resolved and the final inventory is confirmed, the executor must submit the estate to the probate court for review and approval.
There might also be tax obligations for an estate, and those taxes must be paid before assets are distributed to the beneficiaries. However, many estates will not be large enough to accrue a tax obligation. The executor has an obligation to calculate and pay these taxes on behalf of the estate. A knowledgeable Moorestown lawyer could help with determining tax liability and streamlining this portion of the probate process.
Distributing Assets and Final Accounting
Once every obligation of the estate is resolved, it is time to distribute assets to the beneficiaries designated in the will. Distribution might involve making financial payments or transferring ownership of real property to the right heirs. If there is a will in place, the property must be distributed according to the will’s terms. If there is no will, the state’s intestacy laws determine which family members can inherit from the estate.
Once all the relevant assets are distributed to beneficiaries, the process comes to a close. The final step for an executor is to provide the court with a final accounting of the entire process. This paperwork outlines the debts, assets, and distributions made by the estate. If an executor needs any assistance with this portion of the probate process, they could turn to a diligent attorney in Moorestown for guidance.
Contact an Attorney Regarding the Probate Process in Moorestown
The probate process in one of the most crucial aspects of estate planning, as it helps ensure that assets are distributed according to a decedent’s wishes. There are a few important stages to understand here, and proceeding without the help of a knowledgeable legal representative might pose challenges. Therefore, anyone navigating the probate process in Moorestown should reach out to our dedicated lawyers for advice. Call our office today to get started.