The purpose of probate is to serve as a legal process where the authenticity and validity of a will is determined. Probate may entail the administration of a will, or the estate of someone who passed without a will. After a person with assets dies, the court would approve an executor as named in the will, or appoint an administrator for the process of probate if no will is present. Probate involves the collecting and transferring of the deceased’s assets, so that liabilities can be paid and remaining assets distributed to beneficiaries.
When the owner of property passes away, their assets are often reviewed by probate court, who enforces the final ruling on distribution and division of the estate to beneficiaries. A probate process will usually start by analyzing whether the deceased person has left behind a legally-binding will. The deceased may have written an estate plan, which would contain instructions for how they want their assets to be given away after death. But in some instances, there is no will.
A person who dies with a will written is called a testator, and when a testator passes away, their appointed executor will be responsible for petitioning the probate process to begin. The executor can be a family member, close friend, or estate planning professional. However, the executor does not have to be someone with experience in estate planning. The person you choose should at least be trustworthy so they will act in the best interest of your estate later on.
As a probate lawyer Knoxville, TN families depend on from Carpenter & Lewis PLLC can attest, the last thing you want is an executor who is reckless or refuses to ask for help and makes mistakes, causing the estate to suffer. Beneficiaries of your estate may even feel the need to file a complaint with the court if they observe the executor acting in bad faith and against their fiduciary duty. The court has the power to remove an executor from their role and appoint someone else to replace them.
One of the many duties an executor must perform is filing the will to the probate court. Depending on the state you reside in, there are various rules for how long you have to file the will after the estate owner has passed. Filing the will initiates the process of probate. The executor must estimate the estate value and hire appraisers if they need to, in addition to communicating with beneficiaries about what is happening with the estate. An executor may have to keep record of all financial transactions and send these to beneficiaries periodically.
Probate sees to it that someone’s lifetime legacy is handled with respect and diligence. As a team member from Carpenter & Lewis PLLC can attest, the purpose of probate is used to help ensure that someone’s after death wishes are followed, and if there are no instructions left behind, then the court may oversee its distribution and close the estate once complete.