At first, probate sounds like a complicated and expensive procedure, but it’s actually very common. Probate is the way assets must be passed from a decedent to his or her beneficiaries, and probate requirements depend on the property in question, how it’s owned and upon state law. Read on for a very brief explanation of the probate process.
Probate: What Does it Mean?
“Probate” is a descriptive term for a legal procedure that governs the distribution of assets after death. For larger estates, probate can be complex, but for most it’s merely a formality. In probate cases, judges give legal permission for assets to be distributed, regardless of whether there is a will.
The Last Will
Most people think of wills when they think of the probate process. If someone dies and leaves a last will, a Probate Lawyer in Bel Air MD can help the family implement the will’s provisions. However, probate can happen if a person dies without a will. The person’s assets are then distributed under state laws of inheritance. If a decedent owned accounts with named beneficiaries, but that person has also passed away, probate law requires the account to go through court so the funds are given to the person who is legally entitled to receive them.
Some people would rather skip the probate process entirely, and there’s no legal requirement that a case must go through the courts. However, if a decedent owned property that wasn’t arranged specially to avoid probate, there’s no way a beneficiary could legally obtain it without going through the process. Certain states have exceptions; for instance, Florida law permits a family to own property in the decedent’s name if taxes are paid and the property isn’t sold.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Most areas recognize the monetary and time investments made in probate cases. Because of the expense, small estates can go through an abbreviated probate process that doesn’t usually require a lawyer’s help. These procedures make the probate system accessible to everyone, and they encourage people to draft wills.
Most families will deal with probate courts at some point, regardless of whether the decedent left a last will. In some cases, the process can be lengthy, but for smaller estates probate is inexpensive and efficient. After a client visits website name, a Probate Lawyer in Bel Air MD can help them protect their legal rights.