Passing away is the only thing people can't avoid. Nobody likes to think about it, yet every day, people have to deal with the loss of their loved ones. This event can be painful and emotionally draining; on top of that, there are plenty of legal issues that have to be handled.
When a person dies, they're more than likely to leave some property behind. The assets should be distributed respectively, all in accordance with the law. Very often, it's impossible to avoid the probate process, which can get complicated and confusing, especially if there are many beneficiaries and the assets are of great value. However, this article will shed some light on the probate process, the assets that are subject to it, and their validity. Without any further ado, let's jump right into it!
What Is Probate?
Probate is the legal process during which the court reviews the assets of the deceased person, validates their will, and determines their beneficiaries. After all fees and any existing debts are paid, the remaining assets are then transferred to the appropriate parties. The probate laws differ depending on the state, but the general principles are quite similar.
What Assets Usually Go Through Probate?
Generally speaking, the assets that are subject to probate are usually individually-owned or have been left behind without a designated beneficiary. This includes single-owned properties, vehicles, and personal items. Some household items that go through probate also include arts and collectibles, jewelry, guns, or furniture. Other examples of probate assets involve single name bank, brokerage, and investment accounts.
The Probate Process and the Validity of Assets
There are several steps in the probate process that are necessary to determine the validity of the deceased person's assets. These include:
Probate Without a Will
Sometimes a person dies without leaving a will and designating any beneficiaries. In this case, the estate they leave behind is referred to as intestate. Additionally, we can talk about an intestate estate when the court doesn't validate the will that has been presented. If there are no heirs and no valid will, the assets go to the state in a process called escheatment. However, in the case of unclaimed property, there's always a timeframe when any eligible heir can step forward before the assets get transferred to the government.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, the probate process can be quite difficult to comprehend. If you're not really familiar with legal matters, learning about it in a short period of time may cause you stress and nerves. That's why it's best to be prepared beforehand, as the last thing a grieving person wants to do is to get themselves familiar with difficult legal jargon and complicated proceedings.
If you can, try to handle your legal matters while still having the time and strength to do it. Let your loved ones know, and encourage them to do the same, especially your older relatives. Being aware of how to handle the probate process can give you peace of mind, which will be invaluable during those difficult times.
WRITTEN BYBrand Voices