Below, we will be looking at the basics of the steps of probate. To understand the ins and outs of probate further, get in touch with an attorney at Bell & Shah Law.
Step 1: Determine if There Is a Will
When someone dies, the first step is to see whether a will exists and whether it is valid or not. This will determine whether there is an executor or an administrator. If there is a will, then it may name someone as the executor. If there is not a will, there will be an administrator. The administrator is appointed by the court.
Step 2: Gather Information and Begin Duties
The representative of the estate (executor or administrator) will then take possession of the property and ensure it is safe until it is all distributed. Those who take this role have a lot of responsibilities. The person who is named as the executor might be a family member or friend. However, it could also be an attorney.
The representative will ensure that all debts are paid and will locate the Will if one exists. They will collect assets and death benefits, get certified copies of the death certificate, check out safety deposit boxes, manage digital assets, notify the Franchise Tax Board, and notify the Social Security Administration if the decedent was receiving monthly social security benefits.
Step 3. Finding Beneficiaries and Heirs
In addition to the above duties, the representative will also need to find the heirs and beneficiaries. They may be named in the will. If there is not a will or if there are other issues, the representative will have to look for other ways of finding the rightful heirs and beneficiaries. This could be living trust, joint tenancy agreements, etc.
Step 4: Inventorying Property
The representative also has to identify all of the decedent’s property and items mentioned in the will. They will need to take a full inventory, as well, and make sure that everything is there and in order.
Step 5: Transferring the Property to the Right People
Once they know the beneficiaries and the property, they need to make sure that everyone gets what they are supposed to receive. They also need to determine the best way to transfer it to those people.
Talk with an Attorney
If you are looking to put together a will and you want to name an executor, or if you need to know more about what could happen during probate and how to avoid it, talk with an attorney at Bell & Shah Law today!