When someone passes away, it will be the responsibility of that person’s family to gather the assets of that person and properly distribute it among the person’s heirs and beneficiaries. Often times, the family will seek the help of the legal system and file for a probate in a probate court with the help of a probate lawyer. Through Probate Law, the family will have access to more guidance and won’t have to worry about handling such a task thanks to the professional help of probate lawyers and the probate court.
Going to probate court and processing a probate can be helpful if you do not know how to handle the properties and assets of the deceased, but take note that going through a probate will require a significant amount of time, money and effort from the family members so that the probate can go smoothly. Sometimes you might ask yourself “Is a probate really necessary?” Although going through a probate isn’t always needed when someone leaves assets behind after the passing, there are certain situations where it is absolutely necessary to go through a probate so that there may be proper legal assistance and reduced hassle. So when is it necessary to have a probate?
1.) The assets are only under the decedent’s name – In cases where a certain asset is owned solely by the decedent and not under anyone else’s name, no joint ownership, or tied to a contract that is payable upon the person’s death, then there will have to be a probate process in order to transfer that asset to the name of the person’s beneficiary. You can check in the Probate Law of your state if there are any exceptions to certain properties and assets.
2.) Decedent is a tenant in common – If ever the asset lists the decedent as a tenant in common where he shares that asset with other persons, there will have to be a probate process so that the decedent’s share may be passed on to the decedent’s beneficiary. Should the tenant in common share asset be small being valued below 75k dollars, there will be a shorter probate process.
3.) Beneficiaries are deceased or none listed – When there are no listed beneficiaries or they have passed away, a probate will be required. This applies to assets which are considered payable on death which includes insurance policies, retirement policies, medical and health savings, etc. The probate helps find the right beneficiary to accept such assets. Just like all other types of assets, the probate process may be shortened if ever the assets filed at court are considered “small” or are valued below 75k dollars.
4.) No last will and testament available – In Probate Law, the assets should be distributed to the beneficiaries of the decedent which are listed in the person’s last will and testament. However, in the case where there is none, a probate process is really necessary to settle things. Take note however, that in cases like this, family conflicts may erupt especially over disputed assets.