The Truth About Wills And Probate

Has a loved one passed away, and they left behind a will that is up to others to sort out? If so, know that the will is going to go through the probate process. Here are some crucial things to know about probate so that you can be well-prepared for this legal process. 

Probate Validates The Will  

One key part of probate is that it is going to verify that the will being used is the actual last will and testament. There can be some confusion if someone has multiple wills that they changed over the years, and someone may dispute that the will being used is the final will. If the deceased did everything correctly when creating the will, there should be dates and signatures of witnesses who can verify when the will was created and avoid any debate. 

Probate Does Not Apply to Accounts With Beneficiaries

Everything does not necessarily go through probate when someone has a will. One thing that transfers immediately is any account where someone is listed as a beneficiary. This includes things like retirement accounts, bank accounts, life insurance policies, and things of that nature. Hopefully, the deceased did not cause confusion by listing a beneficiary on the account and a different heir of the asset in the will, which can cause a dispute during probate. 

Probate Is A Public Process

Be aware that the probate process is public. It happens in probate court, which means that there are public records about what happens during probate. This means that anyone can look up the court records to see what kind of inheritance was left behind, and who received assets from the estate through the will. 

Probate Can Be Avoided With Proper Estate Planning

If the deceased only had a will at the time of their passing, then it is too late to avoid the probate process. However, know that probate can be avoided through proper estate planning. Using a revocable living trust will cause assets to go immediately to those people in the trust, with there being no probate process involved. This means that your heirs can receive their inheritance faster.

Probate Will Still Happen Without A Will

Anybody that passes away without a will will be considered to have died intestate. This sets off a different set of legal proceedings during the legal process. The probate court will assign someone as the administrator to secure assets and help pay off debts, and then the probate court assists with dividing assets among the heirs. 

Contact a probate lawyer to learn more.