Probate law has dedicated processes for administering a deceased person's estate. When someone dies, their property goes through a set of steps designed to settle outstanding debts, divide the remaining assets among beneficiaries, and leave no loose threads untied. Since most find the process complex and challenging, legal assistance is highly recommended.
A Quick Guide to the Probate Process
1. Appointing an Executor
The requirements under probate law will be mostly carried out by the court-appointed executor of the estate. This is typically a person chosen by the deceased and named in the will, but if no one is chosen or if the individual selected isn't available, the court then appoints someone—usually a family member.
2. Identifying Creditors
The court will publish a notice to any creditors of the deceased that will alert them to the death and allow them to make their claims on the estate. The executor will sort through these claims and verify the debts are legitimate.
3. Paying Debts
After five months, creditors will have had their chance to get in touch, and all the debts of the estate will now be paid. The executor will also have to file the taxes of the property as well.
4. Plan Distribution
What remains of the estate after all debts are paid must be divided among the beneficiaries. If a valid will was left, the executor will follow the instructions as closely as possible, with any exceptions necessary to comply with the state’s probate laws. If no will is known, the estate will be divided according to the area's inheritance laws.
5. Get Court Approval
Before the assets of the estate can be distributed, the court must review and approve the proposed plan. Once that happens, the executor will give each beneficiary their portion, close the estate, and officially retire from their position.
If you've been tasked with administering the estate of a loved one, follow the probate process carefully and get the help of a seasoned attorney. The team at Ganim, Ganim & Ganim, P.C., has been providing a range of legal services in Bridgeport, CT, for over 50 years. Their extensive experience spans probate law, and they are highly-qualified to help close the estate without debt. You can reach them at (203) 372-7772 or contact them online to schedule an appointment.