In many situations, the fewer the number of heirs, the faster the assets can be disbursed. This is particularly true when the probate administration in Missouri must track down the heirs or there are other complications. All too often, the more valuable the estate, the more likely it is that someone will contest the will. It can difficult to prevent feelings of animosity amongst family members after someone passes and significant wealth becomes available. One helpful way to anticipate and prevent conflict among those who might contest the will is to provide a clear, detailed, and current estate plan with a probate administration lawyer in Missouri. This can make the job of probate administration far easier and faster.
When there are multiple people that must be notified, it can take time to locate all of the beneficiaries in and outside of Missouri. If you are planning your estate, there are measures you can take to help your loved ones clearly understand your final wishes and to respect them. By having a clearly defined estate plan which includes your reasoning for your final decisions, your heirs may find peace. Here are some tips for reducing conflicts that could arise during the probate administration of your estate in Missouri:
- Equally divide all assets amongst your children.
- Have an open conversation with your heirs about your plans.
- Create trusts for your minor children which can be handled as part of your probate administration.
- Do not arrange for them to share property or assets (they may have different ideas of what to do with them).
- Clearly specify your wishes for your funeral ceremony and whether you want to be cremated or buried and where your ashes or final resting place should be located.
When Conflict Comes Up During Probate Administration
In most cases, conflict can be an uncomfortable but typical part of being in a family. However, it can be especially difficult during times of grief and loss. Family is different than friendships in that once you sever ties with a friend you have the power to choose never to see them again. However, when a family member passes away, even family who are estranged from one another can be pushed back together during a time when people are feeling fragile. This can cause old conflicts to arise. Ultimately, conflict amongst family can create problems during probate administration in Missouri. It can cause people to retaliate against one another. As a result, such tensions amongst family members can cause probate administration to extend longer than needed. It’s common for them to struggle with communicating with one another. It can also be difficult for them to come to an agreement on various things. When there is more than one person who stands to inherit assets from an estate in Missouri, it can take longer to come to a resolution and conclude the probate administration.
The more disputes during probate administration, the longer and more expensive this process can be. When an estate is tied up in probate, it can be costly.
The process can be further complicated when there are many heirs. What can make a situation even worse is when siblings have been disinherited or family members come forward who were not named in the will. This can cause hard feelings to surface and as a result, the probate administration process can become far more difficult. A Missouri probate administration lawyer can help provide the estate executor with the knowledge and support they need to resolve the process as quickly as possible.
“Probate” is a court-supervised process of transferring legal title from a person who has died (the “decedent”) to the person’s distributees. Probate is necessary to protect the rights to the probate estate of a decedent’s heirs, devisees, and creditors. An orderly transfer of property is done after estate property and debts are administered.
The decedent’s property is held and managed by the personal representative during the administration of the estate. The personal representative makes distribution of the estate when the probate court approves the transactions made to pay claims and expenses and the proposed distribution schedule.
The earliest that an estate may be closed and distribution made to the heirs or beneficiaries is approximately six months and 10 days after the date of first publication. However, it often takes a year or more to finish the administration.
The following are some of the steps in Probate Administration:
• Hire a probate administration lawyer to represent you.
• Apply for Letters Testamentary if there is a will admitted (or apply for Letters of Administration without a will).
• Publish notice to creditors. The date of first publication starts a six-month period for claimants to submit their claims to the court and the personal representative.
• Inventory and appraise assets.
• Administer the estate and sell property if funds are needed to pay bills.
• Pay debts, claims, taxes, and expenses.
• Prepare a settlement showing income and disbursements.
• Obtain court approval for distribution and close estate.
Getting an estate opened and through probate is a complex and complicated process. Let Legacy Law Center help.