If you have recently lost a loved one, you may be wondering what comes next legally. Probate is the “court-supervised process of sorting out and administering a person’s estate after their death.” The purpose of the probate process is either to assure that your loved one’s wishes are carried out in the way that they have instructed (if there is a Will), or to split up their assets based on state rules (if there is not a Will).
While some aspects of probate vary from state to state, the first step is always the same. First, it must be determined whether the decedent died testate, or intestate. This just means that it needs to be determined whether the person who has passed away had made a Will before the time of their passing or not.
If it is discovered there is a Will, it can be admitted to Probate, and the Court will determine if it is legally valid. Once determined to be valid, the wishes expressed in the instrument will be carried out as quickly and efficiently as possible. If the Decedent (person who has passed) died without a Will, the Court will then have to go through the process of distributing the assets in the estate using laws applicable to the specific state.
Creating a Will is a very important process that essentially everyone should do. Having a legally binding Will ensures that your final wishes are carried out. It can also save your loved ones from the potentially time consuming and costly Probate process that takes place when the state is forced to disperse your assets. If you would like to receive legal advice regarding Probate, Wills, Trusts or Estate planning in any form, feel free to contact the Attorneys at Hartsfield & Egbert, PLLC at (405) 285-6858, or visit our website www.helawedmond.com and schedule a consultation.