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Probate Law

A Full Guide to Probates

A Full Guide to Probates


Probate is the legal process that involves the distribution of a person’s estate after death. How such assets are to be disbursed will vary, particularly if the deceased leaves behind a will dictating which individuals are to receive what assets or possessions.

However, in general terms, through the probate process, a deceased individual’s estate and assets will be distributed to heirs and creditors.

The probate process in the United States will vary from state to state and jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so it is often strongly recommended that probate lawyers who are experienced in the probate process be hired to help through the involved legal procedures.

What is Involved in the Probate Process? 

The probate process will prove to have various steps and procedures. Firstly, the determination that the deceased left a valid will behind is crucial.

A Last Will and Testament will be the legal document which will dictate how the deceased assets and estate are to be distributed among family members and loved ones.  In the will, an executor will be assigned, who is the individual nominated by the testator, or deceased person, to carry the terms of the will.

An executor will usually be a child of the deceased, though any other family member or individual can be designated to such role. Often times, wills are drafted with the help of attorneys, which can prove to be a valuable source in assisting the executor through the probate process. The fees for the attorney’s services are usually provided within the will to be paid by the remaining estate.

The executor of the will must take into account all of the property, possessions, and assets of the deceased, helping establish a monetary value to the estate.

Any creditors involved will be notified of the individual’s death, at which time will have a certain time frame to present any debt incurred by the testator that is to be rendered. The debts will usually be settled through the estate and assets, and the remainder of the estate is then to be distributed in accordance to the will.

If there is no will present, the state will be responsible for determining how the assets are to be distributed, usually taking into account the relationship of people to deceased as a priority.

Inheritors and Probate 

An issue that is often times of concern arises when the testator or deceased’s assets will prove to not cover an incurred or present debt. It should be noted that all creditors are to collect debts directly from the estate or assets of the deceased, not the heirs. Even in the case that the assets do not hold enough value to settle existing debts, heirs are not held responsible to provide the debts of the deceased.

Creditors will often times seek to collect debts from the heirs, though such practice is considered to be illegal and be reported appropriately. The only time creditors may be founded in their collection of debts from heirs in in the case that an heir co-signed for a loan, where he/she will be considered responsible and accountable to cover the remainder of a loan or debt.

Probate Law

Probate Law

What is Probate Law?

After an individual dies, the legal title (ownership) of their property and assets must be legally transferred to the beneficiaries listed in their Will. If the deceased individual did not construct a Will, the beneficiaries will be designated by state law. This process—regardless of the presence of an active will– is referred to as Probate. 

Probate Law is the legal process of administering the distribution of a deceased person’s estate. Probate law enacts this process by resolving all claims (debts against the deceased person’s property) and distributing the remaining property as designated by the Will. Probate law interprets the instructions of the deceased party, labels the executor as the formal representative and adjudicates the interests of other parties who have claims against the estate. 

How is Probate Law Administrated?

Probate is the formal process by which the will of a deceased individual is proved to be valid, so that their property and assets can be retitled and transferred to the beneficiaries of the will. As is common with any legal proceeding, there are several technical aspects to the probate process:

• Probate law calls for the publication of legal notices and for all creditors to be notified at the time of death. 

• Probate law will guide the executor of the will with regards to how to distribute assets and pay-off creditors. 

• Probate law institutes various regulations, such as time constraints. These time factors revolve around filing and objecting claims against the estate. 

• If there is a lawsuit pending over the individual’s death or there are pending suits that are now continuing, probate law will institute separate procedures to settle the cases or claims. 

• Probate law presides over the sale of Real estate if the estate needs to pay-off debts or correct a distribution of assets

• Probate law will evaluate the estate’s tax obligations; estate taxes, inheritance taxes and gift taxes will be attached to the Will.

• Probate law will preside over the costs of the administration, including taxation. These costs are deducted from the estate’s assets before distribution is enacted by the executors of the will. Other assets may need to be transferred from the deceased individual to his or her beneficiaries. 

The Probate Process:

Some of a decedent’s property may never enter probate because it may pass to another individual contractually. Moreover, properties held in revocable or irrevocable trust—only if created during the grantor’s lifetime—will also avoid probate. In these instances, court action is not involved and the property is distributed privately (still subject to estate taxation). 

If probate is necessary, the personal representative will first collect and inventory the decedent’s property. The representative will then pay all debts and taxes attached to the estate. Finally, the representative will distribute the remaining property to the beneficiaries, as instructed by the will or according to the intestacy laws of the state. 

Parties may challenge any aspect of Probate law and the attached process; a party may directly challenge the validity of the will, challenge the status of the person serving as the P.R. or challenge whether the P.R. is properly administering the estate. 

How Do I Avoid Probate?

Probate typically lasts several months and is subject to exorbitant court and attorney costs. One of the best ways to avoid the Probate process is to execute a living trust. Furthermore, property can be transferred outside of probate law by establishing “paid-on-death” designations on bank accounts and “transfer-on-death” on brokerage accounts. Property may also be placed in a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship to avoid probate law.  

In regards to real estate, the testator may add a beneficiary to a deed through a life estate deed; the property can be passed down to several generations. The cost of such maneuver should always be weights against the fees associated with probate. If you need legal advice and assistance, contact probate lawyers.


Probate Law At A Glance

Probate Law At A Glance

Probate refers to the means through which the title to all of the possessions of a deceased individual can be resolved, generally by being directed to a new owner. Additionally, probate law can be carried out by carrying out the will and testament, if any was left behind, of the deceased individual. 

Moreover, probate matters typically involve the resolution of any matters which may arise when sorting out conflicting claims and rights to the various property assets of deceased people. As such, probate matters can begin with the settlement of issues arising from wills left behind by deceased persons, as will be up to the judgment of a surrogate court. In settling disputes and conflicts, probate law can provide for such matters as the adjudication of any conflicting claims, as well as the designation of executors who are specifically tasked with acting toward the dispersal and settlement of the estate. If you need legal advice and assistance, contact probate lawyers.


How To Get a Copy Of A Will

How To Get a Copy Of A Will

A will is a legal agreement which allows and ensures an individual to leave their assets to individuals of their desire after they have passed. To obtain a copy of a will an individual must visit the courthouse in which the will was legally signed off on. 
A copy of the will can be provided to an individual if they provided a full legal name of the will’s creator, their birth place, and the location of their residence. A will is considered public record and therefore, with the proper information, an individual will be able to easily obtain a copy of a will. If a will is still being processed through a probate court or hearing, then an individual may be denied a copy of the will.  When a person is creating a will it is advisable to make copies of the completed will for individuals that are listed on the will.

All About Probate Law

All About Probate Law


Probate Law

Probate law deals with issues in regards to the administration of an estate. Probate law includes certainties that the will is legally valid and that an executor of the estate has been appointed. The will must then be upheld and the estate distributed according to the benefactors wishes.

Probate Estate

The probate estate is the point at which a will can be administered, because the surrogacy court has issued a grant of probate. The will has been found legally valid and beneficiaries can take possession of property.

Wills and Probate

Wills can only be administered once the surrogate court has upheld the will as legally valid. Once the will is declared valid and has entered probate, the will can be administered and beneficiaries may take possession of their inheritance.


A gift to charity in a will, can lower the value of the estate which can directly impact the estate tax. Gifts to charity may include money or a gift in kind, which may be property. In either case, the value of the gift is subtracted from the value of the estate before the estate tax is applied.


Satisfaction of the will occurs when all of the beneficiaries have received their intended inheritance. Satisfaction of legacy occurs when a beneficiary was gifted an amount of money or property while the benefactor was still alive, which was meant to count towards their inheritance.

Inter Vivos

Inter vivos means between the living. For example, gifts given during ones lifetimes would be inter vivos gifts, rather than gifts given after death in a will, which would be inheritance.

Probate Forms

Probate forms can be obtained from the courthouse,. These forms are required for an individual to get a grant of probate from the courts.

Community Property

Community property is property which is jointly owned by two spouses. The spouses share equal ownership of that property and in many jurisdictions, a surviving spouse automatically inherits their spouses percentage of ownership of that community property.

Probate Registry

Those individuals that are planning on administering a will, must first go to the probate registry with the appropriate forms. The individuals that goes to the probate registry may be a probate lawyer, but they can also be a beneficiary of the will. The grant of probate does not have to be granted to an attorney and can be granted to any individual that has some authority over the estate.


Trusts are a legal way of disbursing money or property from a benefactor to a beneficiary. The money may be dispersed while the benefactor is still alive, or the disbursements may begin after the benefactor has passed away.


A codicil is used to amend a will. The codicil may take out or add clauses to an existing will. 


What Should You Know About Wills and Probate

What Should You Know About Wills and Probate

Individuals that have decided to have a will, should seek legal advice on the probate process to avoid any legal complications when the will is administered. For example, a probate will may be challenged on several counts if individuals believe that the benefactors did not write the will or that they were not of sound mind when they wrote the will. There are many other legal complications which can occur during the probate process.

Once a will has reached probate, all challenges to the will should be answered, although the will may be challenged at a later date. The probate process may also be delayed for challenges to the will, especially if the challenges have merit. These complications are often avoided if the writing of the will was videotaped and witnessed, which can alleviate fears about the state of mind of the individual that wrote the will.  

Once the will has been legally upheld, the probate will can be administered.

First, the probate process dictates that all creditors be paid by the estate. For example, a home that has a mortgage must have that mortgage paid before anyone can take possession of that property. Finally, the will can be administered and the instructions as laid out in the will, must be followed exactly. Contact a probate lawyer to consult your case.

The will is used to determine which property is distributed to beneficiaries and in what manner. For example, money may be in a trust which is administered to a beneficiary once they become a certain age or graduate from college.


An Overview of Probate Estates

An Overview of Probate Estates

The probate estate can be used to describe an estate that is in probate. Probate law handles issues that deal with the administration of a will. Probate estates are those estates which have reached the point where the will can be administered.

In order for an estate to be administered, the will must first be held as legally valid by the surrogacy courts. Any challenge to the will generally occurs at this time. If the courts hold the will as legally valid, then the probate estate can be administered. The estate must first pay any creditors. In fact, no property may be collected from beneficiaries of the estate, until all debts have been settled.

Once all debts are settled, the estate may have to pay an estate tax, depending on the tax laws in that jurisdiction. The estate, depending on the value, will also likely be responsible for a federal estate tax, which is different than an inheritance tax. The inheritance tax will be paid by the beneficiaries, on the value of the property they inherited.

In addition to taxes, there are other legal issues which apply to the estate. For example, individuals may jointly inherit property. If those individuals do not wish to own that property jointly, they may auction off or sell that property and then distribute the proceeds between the two. The inheritance tax however, will apply to the value of the property on the day the benefactor died, rather than the amount it sold for. If you need legal advice and assistance, contact probate lawyers.


Finding the Right Probate Forms

Finding the Right Probate Forms


As part of the probate process, probate forms must be filled out. Probate forms allow the will to be reviewed in surrogate court. If the will is deemed legally valid, the will can be administered. However, there are many steps involved in the probate process and each must be adhered to carefully.

The probate process begins when the will is submitted in order to be held legally valid. This is vital as the will cannot be administered until the will is deemed legally valid. Any challenges to the will may be presented during this time. If the will is challenged, the probate process will take even longer. Probate forms may include a form which allows a challenge to the grant of probate.

Probate forms may vary in each jurisdiction. For example some probate forms require the names of everyone inheriting form the estate, while others do not. Probate forms, regardless of the intricacies, can be obtained from the court house. The court will also include detailed instructions as to the manner in which probate forms need to be completed. Anything that is filled out incorrectly, could lead to a delay an the grant of probate.  

In many cases, probate lawyers handle the probate process, including filling out any necessary paper work, such as probate forms. The executor of the will may also be involved in filing out forms and submitting them to the court, depending on the rules in each jurisdiction.

Probate Registry at a Glance

Probate Registry at a Glance

In order to get a grant of probate, an individual may need to visit the probate registry. Although wills are legally enforceable documents, they must first be upheld by the courts as a legal and binding document. There are many issues which may prevent a will from being legal. If there is any question as to who actually wrote the will, or the state of the mind of the person that wrote the will, the will may not be upheld.

In order to be sure that the will is legally written and there are no questions as to  its authenticity, individuals must first take the will and the appropriate documents to the probate office. The necessary documents should be obtained before the date of filing, in order to give the individuals ample time to fill out the probate forms and return them to the probate registry.

The courts will then approve a probate to handle the will and deal with issues with the estate. In some cases, a lawyer may be the probate and in others, individuals or beneficiaries may also be the probate. Less complicated wills may not necessitate the services of a lawyer, although it is generally advised that individuals seek legal advice when handling such issues.

The person that is representing the estate, be it an individual or probate lawyers, must file the appropriate forms at the probate office. Once that is done, the estate can be administered to creditors and beneficiaries. 


Satisfaction of Legacies At a Glance

Satisfaction of Legacies At a Glance

A satisfaction of legacies applies to the administration of a will.  A will has been satisfied when the property is distributed according to the instructions left by the benefactor in the will. The satisfaction of legacies applies when the benefactor gives a gift during their lifetime, which is meant to be a part of the inheritance that is listed in the will.
For example a benefactor may leave one hundred thousand dollars to a family member in their will. If during their lifetime, the benefactor gives one hundred thousand dollars to that individual, even over time, the satisfaction of legacies applies.
However, the benefactor may not have intended the gift during their lifetime to substitute for the inheritance. For that reason, these issues should be confronted immediately and the money should be listed as a gift, separate from  the will. In some cases, wills are challenged once they have been satisfied because a beneficiary learns of the possibility of a satisfaction of legacy.
In that case, the beneficiary may challenge the will in court and attempt to have those monies distributed to the other beneficiaries listed in the will. If there is in fact written documentation that says the gift was meant to fulfill the inheritance, the issue is null and void and satisfaction of legacy has been met.
However, if it appears that there is no definitive proof whether those gifts were meant to count as inheritance, the challenge to the will can be a very time consuming process.

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