Being involved in the estate planning process could possibly mean needing a probate attorney O’Fallon MO clients trust. Probate administration may include the necessity to prove the validity of your loved one’s will in court. It includes a number of involved steps including court appearances and paperwork. It is often beneficial to speak with an O’Fallon probate attorney in order to fully understand the process and what is necessary for a successful outcome.
Understanding the Probate Process
A skilled probate attorney O’Fallon MO seeks during estate planning can explain the basics of probate.The steps involved in probate administration usually include the following:
- Identification and inventory of your loved one’s property.
- Appraisal of that property.
- Payment of associated taxes and debts.
- Distribution per the will’s direction.
The executor of the estate is the person responsible for carrying out probate administration. If you are the executor, you must identify, secure, and manage the assets of your loved one. You may also have to decide what to do with your loved one’s property depending on what the will states. If you’re working with a capable probate attorney O’Fallon MO residents rely on, they may tell you that this can be a prolonged process. In fact, it can take anywhere from six months to one year to complete.
In many states, your loved one’s immediate family can request that short-term support funds be released while the probate process is occurring. Eventually, the court will allow the executor to pay debts and taxes and then divide the balance among those named in your loved one’s will. After that, the property can be disbursed to the heirs.
Because of how extensive and complicated the process can be, and because lawyer and court fees often come out of the estate’s funds, many people wonder if they can avoid probate altogether. It is possible in some situations, though only with planning ahead. If you ask a probate attorney O’Fallon MO trusts, you will find that the three main ways in which people try to avoid probate include:
- Creating a living trust
- Naming beneficiaries for retirement plans, investments, and bank accounts
- Having joint ownership of property with a spouse or partner
If your loved one has already selected one of these routes, whether or not for the purpose of avoiding probate, probate may be avoidable. Ultimately, it is often in your best interest to work with an experienced probate attorney in O’Fallon MO with whom you can consult about this matter. They can ensure that all legal obligations are met.
Contact an Attorney
Whether you’re anticipating having to go through the probate process, or if you are already in the midst of dealing with it after your loved one’s passing, you may have more peace of mind if you contact an attorney to guide you. At Legacy Law Center, we are well-versed in the areas of probate and estate planning, and can help you navigate its complexities. To speak with a probate attorney O’Fallon MO clients know they can rely upon, call us today at (636) 887-5297.