After the passing of a loved one, you may feel yourself overcome by grief and may want to avoid certain responsibilities for a time. However, the rest of the world and your life must continue, and you may have duties to attend to in a timely manner. Some of the tasks ahead may relate to your deceased loved one's estate, and you certainly want to handle those tasks appropriately.
If your family member left behind a will, his or her estate will need to go through the probate process. The legal proceedings associated with probate work to ensure that a person's estate closes in the correct manner and in accordance with his or her final wishes.
Why is probate necessary?
When addressing a person's will, the probate process ensures the document's validity and determines whether the will has legal standing. If the document was created incorrectly or you believe that the details of the will do not express your loved one's true intentions, probate proceedings provide a time to address those issues.
What assets must go through probate?
In addition to possible conflict resolution, probate also allows for the distribution of a deceased individual's assets. The property covered by these proceedings includes items owned by your loved one at the time of his or her death. However, some exceptions to this rule apply. For instance, if the individual had life insurance or bank accounts that had direct beneficiary designations, those accounts would not have to go through probate and simply pass directly to the named beneficiary.
Of course, if your loved one did not review and update his or her beneficiary designations, issues could arise if the named person has died or should otherwise not receive the assets. In such cases, the accounts may need addressing during probate.
Can probate be avoided?
While options do exist for avoiding the probate process, not everyone chooses to take the time and effort to circumvent these legal proceedings. Probate can prove beneficial when it comes to allowing you to ensure that your loved one's estate closes effectively.
If the decedent named you as the executor of the estate, you will have many duties and responsibilities to handle. As a result, you may wish to find out more information on what steps you need to take in order to begin the probate process after your loved one's death. Even though your grief in the wake of your loss may feel overwhelming, beginning the probate process as soon as possible may work in your favor.