The death of a parent introduces a host of emotional and logistical challenges. When a parent passes away, a probate process handles his or her estate in which the court identifies, collects, and distributes his or her assets through probate. Though probate is often required, this process is notably overwhelming for the loved ones a parent has left behind.
Probate does not have to be a highly complicated, costly or stressful process, as families have several options for getting through it as quickly as possible.
Probate is the legal process of executing a will and determining the fate of a decedent’s assets. Upon his or her death, a family files a parent’s will with the probate court where it undergoes review and verification. During probate, the courts assess all available assets, debts and claims in order to inventory and appraise the estate. The remaining funds and assets are then distributed according to the will.
The complexity of a probate process depends on a variety of factors, including the extent of a parent’s pre-planning, the size or scope of the estate, the number of beneficiaries, asset complications, will clarity, legal delays or interpersonal concerns. These circumstances can make probate increasingly time-consuming or costly.
Fortunately, the procedure is not always exceedingly complicated, especially when families seek professional assistance for the process. Some estates qualify for simpler probate procedures depending on the terms of a will, its assets and any involved beneficiaries.
Families in need of assistance should determine the legal options available to them in order to streamline the probate process during an already challenging time.