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Probate

Probate is the process of settling the estate of a deceased person.  If the estate is beyond a certain size and not structured properly, it may need to be settled among the heirs in probate court.

In most states, when a person dies the assets of that person become the property of the surviving spouse without the need for probate.  In states where this is not automatic and for smaller estates, property such as real estate, cars, bank accounts, etc. can be held in joint tenancy between the spouses so the surviving spouse will immediately receive ownership.  Everyone who has a positive net worth should at the very least keep a will naming a primary and secondary beneficiary to avoid potential problems in probate and to make sure their assets pass to the persons they wish.

In the will the estate holder names an executor to execute the terms of the will and handle the distribution of the estate's assets.  If there is no will and assets exist that are not held in joint tenancy, a probate court will decide who receives those assets and will appoint an administrator to distribute and close the estate.

Probate Procedure

Property of the deceased held in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship or other property that contractually passes to another after death in most cases will pass without the need for probate.  These can include bank accounts, real estate, automobiles, proceeds from insurance policies on the deceased and property held in living trusts.

For assets that go to probate, the court collects and inventories the assets of the deceased and pays any outstanding debts and taxes out of the assets.

Even with a will, there may be disputes during the probate process.  A claim on the estate can be made to the probate court by anyone including potential heirs unhappy with the property that they were willed or, more likely, not willed.  The court will determine the validity of any such claims.

Avoiding Probate

An estate in probate can take months to settle and distribute the assets to the proper heirs to the estate.  It can also incur a large expense in legal and court fees that reduces the size of the eventual estate.

Many people use living trusts to avoid having assets go into probate.  Upon death of the trust's owner, the trust is instructed to transfer ownership of the assets in the trust to the intended heir.  Such trusts may avoid some estate taxes but once setup are irrevocable.

Unfortunately, multi-million dollar estates (under current law) are subject to federal estate taxes.  Property included in the tax calculation include property held in living trusts, life insurance proceeds and most other estate assets net of liabilities.  Some trusts may be able to avoid estate taxation, "the death tax", but laws are constantly changing and the advice of legal counsel is necessary to properly structure such instruments.

 

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PROBATE NOTICE: Douglas Martin Antonson Estate File No.19HAPR18263 Hastings ...
PROBATE NOTICE: Douglas Martin Antonson Estate File No.19HA PR 18 263 Hastings Star Gazette It is Ordered, and Notice is given, that on May 31, 2018, at 9:00 a.m., a hearing will be held in this Court at the Dakota County Judicial Center, located at 1560 Highway 55, Hastings, MN 55033, on a Petition for the formal probate of an instrument PROBATE NOTICE: Joseph John Berns Estate 19HA PR 18 272Farmington Independent IN THE CIRCUIT COURT IN AND FOR SANTA ROSA COUNTY Navarre Press Legal Notices for April 25, 2018 Perry NewspapersPerry Newspapers all 4 news articles raquo

Can An Executor Use Estate Assets To Pay Counsel Fees Jersey Shore Online
Jersey Shore Online Can An Executor Use Estate Assets To Pay Counsel Fees Jersey Shore Online So long as the challenge to the Will is a challenge to its validity, interpretation, distribution, or specific clauses, then an Executor may hire an attorney to defend the Estate. Any counsel fees incurred in defending against such challenges to the

The Problem With Probate Estates, Wills And Trusts TCPalm.com TCPalm
TCPalm The problem with probate Estates, wills and trusts TCPalm.com TCPalm Many people don39t even know what probate is and fortunately, have not had to experience it for themselves. Estate of: RICHARD JONAS, Deceased. No. 18 4 00021 25 Chinook Observer all 3 news articles raquo

Two Years Later, Princeaposs Heirs Have Still Not Received A Penny Of Forbes
Forbes Two Years Later, Prince39s Heirs Have Still Not Received A Penny Of Forbes Two years later, bankers, lawyers, and consultants have earned millions from Princes estate. But his heirs haven39t received a penny. Why and more raquo

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Facts of Law covering estate probate law

Facts of Law - Estate Probate