It is never easy when a close friend or family member passes away. Often there are strong emotions involved, and it can be difficult to make the final arrangements. One of the most overwhelming items to deal with may be that of finalizing the estate and distributing the deceased’s property. The difficulty of doing so depends on how the final terms were set up and whether the estate will be required to go through the probate process. The probate process is designed to finalize matters involving paying off creditors, collecting life insurance policies and other assets, finding property and ensuring items get to the proper beneficiaries.
During the probate process, an administrator is appointed to see the estate through the proper procedures. The administrator is either chosen by the deceased and named in the last will and testament or is appointed by the court. Once they have gathered all of the proper documents and notified creditors and insurers of the death, administrators are responsible for gathering up the property and assets in the estate. Any debts, such as taxes, are then paid out of the estate. The property and assets that are remaining are then distributed to the beneficiaries named in the will.
The probate process can be simple or complicated depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. In some instances, people can avoid probate altogether if the property is put in a trust. The assets and property in the trust are then transferred over to the beneficiary upon the trustholders death.
This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.