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Frequently Asked Questions about Probate and Estate Administration
Q: What is probate?
A: In general, probate is the court procedure by which a will's validity is proved, assets collected, creditors paid and the remaining assets distributed to beneficiaries under the will.
Q: What is a will contest?
A: A will contest is a legal action that challenges the validity of a will and/or the terms of the will. Will contests typically involve allegations that a will was inadequately executed, invalidated by a later will or was the result of forgery or undue influence.
If you are the executor of an estate, you face substantial legal and financial responsibilities. You must open the estate, collect and inventory assets, collect debts owed to the estate, distribute assets to the beneficiaries, and close the estate. Any mistake in performing any of these steps may not only delay the probate procedure, but could cause legal problems. If you are an executor, contact an attorney experienced in probate and estate administration to help you navigate through the probate process.
Nothing is harder than losing a loved one. The first thing on your mind is taking care of your family. At some point, you are going to have to settle debts and distribute your loved one's assets and property through the probate process. By contacting an experienced lawyer, you can save yourself a lot of stress. Attorney Paul S. Ward can help make that process as easy as possible for you and your family. Contact him today.
Personal Service from a CPA, CELA, and Board-Certified Indiana Trust and Estate Lawyer, as certified by the Indiana Trust and Estate Specialty Board (TESB)*
Contact attorney Paul S. Ward today at (317) 202-1569
Probate and Estate Administration - An Overview
Estate administration refers to the process of probating the estate of a decedent, which generally includes collecting, inventorying and appraising assets; paying and collecting debts; filing and paying estate taxes; and distributing any remaining assets to beneficiaries. An experienced probate and estate administration attorney from Paul S. Ward P.C. in Indianapolis, Indiana, can help simplify this complicated process. If you need help in the administration of an estate, call Paul S. Ward P.C. today.
The Probate Process
Probate is the court process used to determine the validity of a will and oversee the payment of creditors and distribution of estate assets. Even if there is no valid will at the time of death, the estate will still go through the probate procedure. Since probate is regulated by state laws, there are specific procedures prescribed by each state for carrying out the process.
Role of the Executor
An executor is the person named by the creator of the will (the testator) to carry out the terms and provisions of the will. In addition to locating important documents and notifying Social Security, pension providers, annuity providers and other entities of the death, the executor has numerous other legal responsibilities.
Assets disposed of outside the probate process are part of the non-probate estate. Because a probate proceeding is not required, these assets are distributed more quickly to the appropriate beneficiaries. Many people seek out these assets and ownership models to save their loved ones from the difficulties associated with going through probate.
The fact that a person leaves a will does not guarantee that her or his property will be distributed according to the will's terms. A court generally must provide an opportunity to allow others to object to the will, and a legal challenge, called a will contest, may be brought by anyone with an interest in the will who believes it is invalid.