Probate Lawyer St. Peters, Missouri
When someone passes away, the will left behind may have to be evaluated through a process called probate. Overall, probate entails this will being judged for legitimacy in the court of law. Once approved for reliability by a judge, an executor of the will can begin performing the tasks associated with handling the estate. Each state may have its own set of laws regarding the probate process, but overall it has the same intention. Many people decide to turn to a probate lawyer St. Peters, Missouri trusts to answer their questions about probate, in order to feel more confident about what is to come. For any questions not answered below, you may want to consider meeting with a qualified probate attorney from Legacy Law Center.
#1 Was a Will Created?
The very beginning stages of probate often include figuring out whether a will was even created at all by the deceased. If a will was established, then it must go through a test for validity. If you believe a will is not valid, it is important to speak with a probate lawyer from our St. Peters, Missouri office. If a will cannot be uncovered and the deceased has not written any other relevant documents within an estate plan, then it becomes “intestate.” By definition, this simply means the person who passed had not created a will.
#2 Who Files for Probate Court?
In the majority of cases, the executor of the will files for probate court if it is needed. The court system then schedules a time and date for a hearing, where the judge does or does not grant the executor permission to take care of the deceased’s estate. An experienced St. Peters, Missouri probate lawyer can tell you that this process can be very long, sometimes taking between six months to a year.
#3 Who Takes an Inventory of Assets?
After being granted permission to continue, the executor identifies all of the belongings, assets and property within the deceased’s estate. The executor has a big role to play in gathering necessary paperwork, collecting income tax returns for the previous few years, protecting the assets, distributing assets to beneficiaries when the time is right, and being the representative of the estate during any other court hearings. According to a St. Peters probate lawyer, the executor may be required to access bank account information to help them find any of the following assets:
- Certificates for stocks and bonds
- Life insurance policies
- Corporate records
- Titles for vehicles
- Brokerage accounts
#4 Who Pays Remaining Debts and Expenses?
Once the date-of-death values are established, the executor may request appraisal of items such as jewelry, art, or other collectibles. The executor is responsible for using money within the estate to pay off any remaining expenses or taxes of the deceased. The executor may have to decide which property or other assets must be sold off in order to pay outstanding debts, and whether creditor claims for amounts due are actually reliable.
#5 When Do Beneficiaries Receive Assets?
The very last stage of the probate process is usually when the beneficiaries finally receive their rightful inheritances. A probate judge must close the estate first, and then permits the executor to transfer awards to beneficiaries. If there was a will created, then the executor follows the wishes as described.
If you are about to go through the probate process of your loved one’s will or are currently dealing with the process, it is important to speak with the probate lawyer St. Peters, Missouri calls first. Contact Legacy Law Center today to schedule a consultation.