What is Probate?

Upon a person’s death, their outstanding debts must be satisfied and their assets must be distributed and administered by the Courts of the State they reside in. Assets are disbursed according to the deceased person’s Will, if they have one. If they do not, their assets are divided according to the Laws of Intestate Succession, which are statues that determine an order in which a deceased person’s family will receive assets. Probate can be “formal” or “informal,” depending on the size of the deceased person’s estate or certain legal requirements. In general, Informal Probate is utilized when the deceased person had a Will and there are no issues that create the need for a hearing. Formal Probate may be required when a deceased person has no Will, or there are contested issues about the deceased person’s estate.

Not all assets owned by a deceased person at the time of their death are regarded as Probate assets. Typical non-probate assets are life insurance policies with named beneficiaries, payable on death bank accounts, retirement accounts with named beneficiaries, and some jointly held assets. If the deceased person’s assets do not exceed $50,000.00, Probate may be avoided with various processes that a Probate Attorney can review with you.

In general, probate is a complicated, paperwork intensive process, which is often frustrating. Our experienced and compassionate Probate Attorneys can assist you with this process and provide the legal expertise to assist you through this process during a difficult time.

For more information or to schedule a consultation please call us at 920 231-5050 or click here.

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