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What does the probate process entail?

There is a lot of misinformation about probate, and many people might have the impression that they should avoid the process at all costs. In fact, it is a process that can help ensure the wishes of a loved one are fulfilled when a will is challenged or issues are present when an estate plan is executed.

What does the probate process entail? This process is a legal process, and it is used for the transferring of property after a person's death. In basic terms, this process begins when a document, such as a will, is used to formalize a person's intent to transfer his or her property at the time of his or her death. This document is then executed at their death, their property is collected, certain debts are paid from the person's estate and then the property is distributed according to the person's will.

Probate is a court-supervised process that handles property that did not pass on to others by designation or ownership. In other words, the property isn't a life insurance policy or a payable on death bank account. Because probate has fees attached to it, many people seek to avoid it. However, when a will is drafted, it is likely that the probate process will be required in order to distribute property according to the terms of the will. AN executor will be named in the process, and this is the person that will managed the decedent's affairs upon his or her death.

If a will is contested, this is when the probate process can get more complex and costly. These issues typically occur when an heir believes they are owed a larger share or specific property. Additionally, a will could be contested if one believes the testator was improperly influenced to gift property, did not have the proper mental capacity to draft a will or the necessary legal formalities were not followed during the will drafting process.

Whether a will is contested or uncontested, the probate process is likely necessary. Heirs likely have many questions during this process, which can make it vital to have legal guidance throughout the process. Being informed can help avoid pitfalls or even the lost chance of recovering property that is rightfully yours.

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Mason & Helmers

Mason & Helmers
332 Minnesota Street
Suite W-3070
St. Paul, MN 55101

Toll Free: 877-389-5533
Phone: 651-323-2548
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