Barney DeBrosse, LLC is available to help you administer the estate of a loved one. Whether it is simply ensuring that a will is properly probated or handling probate litigation, having competent and experienced legal counsel not only guarantees that the process is followed correctly, but also allows the loved one to grieve without worrying about legal matters.
COMMONLY ASKED PROBATE QUESTIONS
What is probate and estate administration?
When a person dies, assets usually must pass through a court before they can be distributed according to the will of the deceased (or according to state law, if there is no will). The Probate process exists to ensure the deceased person’s property is properly accounted for and distributed.
Does everything go through probate?
Not necessarily. It is possible to keep certain property out of probate. Typically, this can be done by contract (such as placing the name of the beneficiary on the title of a house or car), or by placing the property in a trust.
What is the advantage of keeping property out of probate?
Probate can be a long process. With some exceptions, every day that your property is tied up in probate is a day that the property is inaccessible to loved ones. Additionally, probate can be a complicated process, particularly for individuals who attempt to probate an estate without legal counsel. By keeping property out of probate, it is possible to minimize the cost, in terms of legal fees, taxes, and costs, on one’s heirs and beneficiaries.
Is probate expensive?
It depends on the size of the estate. By law, probate costs must be “reasonable.” Smaller estates have smaller attorney fees, but because the estate is small, those fees may still be a significant percentage of the total worth. In addition to legal fees, the probate court assesses its own costs and fees against every estate that passes through it. Finally, there may be tax consequences for property that passes through probate.
What are some issues that may arise in probate court?
One of the most common issues in probate occurs when an individual dies without a will. The probate court must appoint an individual to oversee the administration of the estate, and family members can disagree about who should be selected. Even with a will, heirs can fight about whether the will is valid, whether it has been superseded by subsequent wills, and about the value of property given to other beneficiaries. Another common issue arises when an individual dies and leaves behind a business that none of the other family members can run, and no one knows how to go about selling the business. Such a situation can often cause serious damage to the business as an asset, resulting in substantially reduced value to the estate.
Is an attorney necessary?
Many of the issues described above can be avoided by having an experienced attorney assist the family with estate planning well in advance of death. After death, an attorney who understands the probate system can help the family execute the final wishes of the deceased, conclude all of the final affairs, and move the estate quickly though the probate process.
What does the probate process look like?
- Application to administer the estate
- Appointment of the administer or executor
- Paying Creditors
- Filing tax documents
- Distributing assets
- Filing an accounting
*More information on the Probate Process can be obtained at http://www.franklincountyohio.gov/probate/departments/estate_admin.cfm