What does it mean when a property is in probate?
Probate is the legal process of proving the validity of someone’s will. So, that means when a property is in probate, there are various legal maneuvers that the inheritors of the property, the executor of the will, and the lawyers involved in the process need to go through. Probate can be a lengthy, complex process, but it is a necessary one. But even before a property is in probate, the person leaving it behind should make a will.
If they do not make a will and die intestate, then probate court handles the proceedings and chooses who to distribute the property. That is why it is important for people to leave behind a will that clearly names an executor and the inheritors. Anyone who needs that kind of help should contact Wills & Wellness Estate Planning so that they can get their affairs in order.
What Does The Probate Process Entail?
The probate process goes as follows:
- The validity of the deceased person’s will has to be proven in court.
- The property of the deceased person is identified and inventoried.
- The property of the deceased person gets appraised.
- Debts and taxes are paid.
- The property gets allocated according to the dictates of the deceased owner’s will.
This process involves lawyers and courts, both of whose fees are paid via the property of the deceased owner’s estate. All told, the probate process can take months or years to complete, during which time the executor of the will must secure and manage the property of the deceased. If either cash endowments named in the will, or personal debts of the deceased come to a large amount, then the executor may have to sell off some of the assets of the deceased to cover the cost.
Who Takes Care Of The Probate Process?
When the owner of the property drafts a will, they name an executor to handle all of the proceedings related to the probate process. However, there are cases where a person dies intestate, or they fail to name an executor in their will. In that case, the probate court appoints an estate administrator to take care of the probate process. That administrator is usually a close family member the court has deemed responsible and competent enough to handle the proceedings.
It can also go to the person who inherited the majority of the deceased person’s property. In cases where the probate process is unnecessary, no administrator is named and instead a close relative or friend takes over. This person is usually chosen by the friends and family of the deceased. In such cases, they all share the responsibility of filing the final tax return, paying off debts, and distributing the decedent’s property.
Is Probate Always Necessary?
Depending on the state, some property can be transferred without having gone through the probate process, or by going through a simplified version of the probate process. Also, assets that are outside the purview of the will do not have to go through probate. Exceptions include joint ownership, community property law, a transfer-on-death deed, or a living trust; in all those cases, the property automatically gets passed on to the survivors of the deceased.
What Happens To A House In Probate?
The house can be sold by the executor of the will, or if the individual dies intestate, then the probate court takes over and manages the sale of that property. Selling a house in probate is a different procedure to selling a regular house because each step of the process is regulated by the probate court and a real estate probate agent is assigned to sell the property.
As for the personal belongings of the home, they are either distributed to the decedent’s friends and family or they are sold off in an estate sale before the house goes on the market.
Be Sure To Leave a Will Behind
A will that names an executor and inheritors of the decedent’s property can help to make the probate process go much more smoothly. The probate process is there to prevent fraud and to facilitate the fair distribution of the property of the decedent, which is why a will is so useful in that situation. So, contact a specialist in wills and probate law to ensure that your property gets distributed the way you want it to.