One of the most serious and daunting legal procedures is the probate process. Not only does it take time and a lot of patience, but the results are unlikely in half of the cases. The probate process is actually the procedure when the assets and possessions of a deceased person need to be passed on to their heirs. In other words, it is the procedure of processing and sanctioning the will in the absence of a legal trust or bonding. However, all countries and states have different terms and regulations related to the probate process.
If you’re extremely new to this term, let’s discuss more this to learn a few common facts associated with the probate process.
1. Beginning of the Process
It starts by filing a petition in court to start the processing of the will or to request, appointing an executor in the absence of a will. The people involved and mentioned in the will, including the heirs and all beneficiaries have to be informed of this stage through private or public announcements like a newspaper advertisement. It gives them the right to object in court during the hearing.
2. Not all Estates or Property Needs to Be Probated
A few assets are obligated to be exempt from the probate process. You need to check the rules and regulations or seek professional advice before deciding on any inclusions. Some of these objects include joint tenancy or property owned by two people, like a savings account or a house, property that goes to a surviving spouse, living trust assets, transfer-on-death deeds or any kind of specified beneficiaries.
3. It Can Cause Delay at Times
However tempting the results might seem, probate processes aren’t that easy as they can take years to finalize. Probate and planning attorneys over at https://www.atlantaestatelawcenter.com/johns-creek-estate-planning-attorney/ recommends to always take professional advice of lawyers into consideration in order to sort all problems that are causing a delay in this process. Lawyers will want nothing more than to get these things resolved as fast as possible simply because no one benefits anything from unnecessary delays.
A few reasons are beyond our control and need expert help. Some of the reasons that can cause delays are:
- Numerous Noted Beneficiaries: At times, the beneficiaries who are supposed to gain the maximum benefit out of the probate process are the ones who cause a delay. They are either unwilling to be present on the requested date, do not produce relevant documentation, or can cause misunderstandings. Also, if the beneficiaries are missing any important documents, it can add to the delay.
- Improper Will Writing: If there are problems in the wills or in the issued paperwork such as the appointment of a valid executor, no record of a witness or invalid signatures, it will require you to restart the entire process. This takes time and will cause major delays.
- Appointing the Executor: The Chain of Representation declares that an executor needs to be appointed in the absence of one, especially if the past representative has recently been deceased before granting of the will. The succeeding heir needs to be traced. In case the traced heir isn’t a blood relation, it can get difficult to prove the relation due to the requirement of tons of paperwork and documentation.
- Relevant Taxes: There is a special tax code in the probate process known as the IHT or Inheritance Tax. When the mentioned assets exceed the value of ₤325k, this tax needs to be paid in order to release the assets. It is, however, a long process and can take some time.
4. The State’s Rights on your Property
The general rule in almost any state is to write your will to the first holders in your bloodline, which are usually your spouse and your children. Depending on your location, you might have to share the assets with your siblings or your parents if you’re the heir. But certain situations may arise when relatives and heirs cannot be traced. In this case, the property and estate mentioned in the will directly go to your state. But if your representative manages to trace a long-distance relative, the state doesn’t get your property. This situation is also valid when the deceased does not have a legally written will.
Lastly, people have this belief that it takes a lot of money to get the probate processed properly. Apart from the major cost of inheritance tax which is rare, hiring professional help can deduct those costs by taking unknown probate shortcuts. The probate process seems like a long, complicated procedure, but can be carried out smoothly if planned properly. It’s also important to educate yourself as much as possible to avoid unnecessary costs and delays.