Probate Process Simplified

Before heirs and beneficiaries can receive their inheritances, a deceased individual’s estate must go through probate. This is the process by which funeral expenses and existing debts are paid off and it involves a complex process that can be made easier by working with estate planning attorneys in North New Jersey. An experienced attorney, such as Harwood Lloyd, can help you prepare for probate, so your loved ones will have a less frustrating experience, while they deal with their grief.

Filing for Probate

The first step in this process is to file a petition in probate court, so the executor of the will can be appointed. If the decedent didn’t leave a will, this first phase will allow the court an opportunity to appoint an administrator of the estate. The decedent’s heirs and beneficiaries must be made aware of the hearing in advance, so they can attend.

Giving Notice to Creditors

Once the personal representative has been appointed, it will be up to them to notify all of the known creditors that the individual’s estate has entered probate. Additionally, the executor, or personal representative, must take an inventory of the estate. Creditors only have a limited amount of time to file a claim against the estate.

Paying the Debts

The third step in the process requires the personal representative to liquidate assets included in the estate, so the debts can be paid. If there isn’t enough cash, the executor must have physical property and assets appraised, so they can be sold to cover the debts.

The Transfer of the Estate

Each state will vary, as far as establishing a waiting period in which the estate must remain in probate. Once that period has expired, the personal representative can petition the court for permission to begin distributing assets to heir, or beneficiaries. The representative must abide by the terms of the will in dividing the remaining assets among the heirs.

While this is a very brief overview, the process can become complex and exhaustive. Working with estate planning attorneys in North New Jersey can help you set up a more efficient plan for the distribution of your assets. Harwood Lloyd can ensure your loved ones are taken care of, upon your passing.