What Does It Mean When A Property Is In Probate?
Probate is described as one of the legal processes that occurs after a person dies. It is inclusive of:
- Proving in a court that the will of the deceased person is valid
- Inventorying and identifying the property of the deceased person
- Having properties appraised
- Paying taxes and debts
- Distribution of remaining property according to the will or according to the state law if there is no will
In most cases, probate will involve paperwork along with court appearances made by lawyers. The court and lawyer fees will be paid out of the estate property, which would have otherwise gone to people who inherited the property of the deceased. Buying property in probate is widely known as getting the best deals on the property.
How Do The Probate Processes Work?
The probate process usually involves once a person has died, the individual who was named as the executor or when the person has died without a will, the appointed person will be decided by the judge will file the papers to the closest probate court. The executor will then prove validity of the will and will present the probate court with a list of the debts, properties and who will inherited what is left. Then creditors and relatives will be notified officially about the persons death.
It is the responsibility of the executor to secure, find as well as manage the assets during probate processes, which typically takes months or even years. Dependent on the contents of the will, and the debts the executor may need to make a decision to sell securities, real estate or any other property.
An example of this may be, if the will involves various cash bequests, yet the estate is made up of mainly valuable artwork, then the collection may need to undergo appraisals and then sold in order to produce the money. In other instances, if the debts outstanding are high the executor may need to sell property in order to pay them.
In the majority of states, the members of immediate family might request that the court releases short-term support funds, as the probate proceedings drag out. Eventually, a court will then grant the executor with permission in order to settle the taxes and debts, and then divide the remainder among the organizations or people that were named in the will. Finally, any property will then be transferred to the new owners.
Does Property Have To Go Through The Probate Process When The Person Dies?
The answer is no, in fact most of the states allow a specified property amount to pass which is free from probate or using a more simplified probate process or procedure. For example, in California it is possible to pass a maximum of $100,000 in property without using probate, with a simplified transfer procedure for property that is left to the surviving spouse. In addition, any property which passes outside the will, such as a living-trust or joint tenancy will not be subjected to probate.
Who Is Held Responsible For Handling Probate?
In the majority of cases, an executor which was named in a will takes on this job. When there is no will present or the will did not name any person an executor, then a probate court will name a person an administrator that will deal with the process. In most cases, the job will go to a capable relative or the person who has inherited most of the assets of the deceased person’s estate.
When a formal probate-proceeding has been established as not necessary, the court will not appoint someone as the estate administrator. In these cases, the closest friend or relative will serve in the form of an “informal” estate representative. Typically, friends and family members will choose the person, and it is often common for more than one person to share responsibilities when it comes to paying the debts and filing the last income tax-return and to then distribute the property to people that are meant to receive it.
How To Avoid Probate?
Probate will rarely benefit the beneficiaries and will always cost time and money. Probate usually only makes sense if the estate has complex issues, like many debts that cannot be paid easily from property that is left behind.
The decision to spend effort and time on how to avoid probate will be dependent on a few factors. This includes the person’s age, their wealth and health. For those that are still young and have health on their side, adopting a probate-avoidance plan that is complex, may mean they will need to readjust it as their life situations change. And for those that own a small amount of property, it may not be worthwhile to spend time planning how to prevent probate, as the property will probably qualify for a simplified probate process. However, for those in their 50s or even older, or are in ill health or for those that own a lot of property, it would be wise to conduct a bit of planning in order to prevent probate.