Probate is simply the legal process through which a will is either “approved” or “disapproved” by a court of law and deemed to be a legally binding document. Probate usually involves a complex set of official procedures which are governed by state probate law. The purpose of probate is to settle the estates of individuals who die without making any will. Once the probate court makes its decision regarding the estates it reviews the process and usually renders its final ruling on the matter. Visit www.georgiaprobateattorneys.net for more information.
Some states allow for the use of “contingency funding” through probate to settle estates without any court action. This is referred to as “contingency” and works very much like the manner in which most life insurance policies are structured: the policy holder makes a regular payment into a trust fund, which is used to pay any outstanding costs and administrative fees associated with the estate, and then is dispersed to the beneficiaries of the policy. In cases where there is no will there will always be some method by which the deceased person’s property can be distributed. However, if there is a will, there is also a strong possibility that there may be a substantial amount of litigation as everyone attempts to assert their rights to inheritance property.
There are two types of probate procedures in which people attempt to claim their estates: direct probate and indirect probate. Direct probate occurs when the court order is made directly to a particular individual managing the estate; the court appoints a personal representative to handle the estate and manages the assets at the time of death. Immediate family members will not usually have any direct connection with the decedent, although they may become involved if they have special financial interests in the decedent’s estate. Indirect probate occurs when the court does not appoint an individual to manage the estate, but allows an appointed individual to act as an agent for the decedent’s representatives. These representatives then try to identify the remaining assets and distribute them amongst the beneficiaries according to what is stated in the will or court documents.
Most of these Probate procedures take place during the last stages of someone’s life, prior to dying of natural or medical causes, or immediately prior to death of a minor. Those who are extremely ill or seriously injured can have a difficult time determining the proper method of distribution, and can also face stiff penalties if the process is not properly handled. Many times there is no need for a court formal probate procedure, as the wishes of the person are taken into consideration and a more reasonable distribution can be determined.
Many people choose to have an executor to handle the probate process. An executor is a person who serves as the “personal representative” of someone else and is responsible for looking after that person’s personal affairs. An executor must file paperwork with the court, as well as providing financial statements and tax information to the court, which it must confirm the accuracy of. The court will also approve the final will and probate process before issuing any final approvals. Many people feel more comfortable having an executor present during the probate process, as they are often neutral and can better explain what is required and what can be done.
Probate is something that can be rather complex, as there are many little details that are easily overlooked. For this reason, people prefer to use simplified methods of handling their estates, so that their final wishes are followed and their inheritance is distributed as they would like. Small estates can be handled using simple Probate Procedures, which simplifies the entire process, leaving heirs with only one obligation. Many people find that using a probate procedure with a simplified setup is much easier on their estate and can help them keep everything as organized as possible, with little risk of any issues or disagreements.