No matter the size of your estate, it is important to create an effective estate plan in order to ensure that your family is able to inherit your assets. Part of creating an effective estate plan involves navigating the probate process. In this blog, we explain what to expect from the probate process.
What is Probate?
The probate process happens after a person has died. In general, probate involves the following things:
- Determining in court if a deceased person's will is valid
- Completing an inventory of the deceased person’s property
- Appraising the property
- Distributing the property as the will dictates
This process can involve lots of paperwork and frequent appearances in court.
How the Probate Process Works
After you die, the executor of your will files papers at the probate court. Your executor will present the court with a list of all your property and debts in order to prove the validity of your will.
Your executer will manage your assets throughout the probate process, which can take a few months to a year. Depending on your will and debts, the executor might have to decide to sell your real estate, securities, or other property.
Will All of My Assets Go Through Probate?
All of your assets do not necessarily have to go through probate. Some states will allow certain amounts of your property to skip probate, while other states use a simplified probate procedure. Property that passes outside of your will, such as joint tenancy or a living trust, will not be subjected to probate.
What If I Don’t Have a Will?
If you do not have a will in place, or if your existing will does not name an executor, the probate court will appoint an administrator to handle the probate process. The court will usually pick your closest capable relative or the person who inherits the majority of your assets.
How Can I Plan for Probate?
If you wish to plan for probate, you should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney. At Shows & Smith Law Firm PLLC, our team of lawyers help families plan for their future. We can review your situation and create a strategy that can help you get the most out of the probate process. We are here to protect your financial interest.
Contact our Jackson MS estate planning attorneys today to learn more about how we help prepare you for probate.