The process of dealing with probate can be time consuming and frankly intimidating, especially after losing a loved one. Here we’re going to look at a few things to keep in mind as you’re navigating the probate process.
What Exactly Is Probate?
Probate is the process that occurs after someone passes away in order to settle the debts and assets of the estate. Probate laws vary from state to state, but there are some general consistencies to the process no matter where the property is located. If the decident owned a home or other property, you will likely be required to go through the probate process. Typically, if there is a will in place an executor of the estate will already be assigned. However, if that’s not the case a judge will typically need to assign an executor to act on behalf of the estate.
Proving that the Will is Valid
When someone passes, the executor will need to notify the local courts to open a probate case. It is required at that time that the will be provided,along with documentation proving that it is valid. In order to have a valid will, they will look that it includes the intent, the person was 18 years or older when signed, the date of signing, and that two witnesses were present to observe the signature. The will needs to be created voluntarily, by someone who is of sound mind to do so in order to be considered legal with the courts.
Notification to Heirs and Creditors
The executor of the estate will need to notify all creditors and potential heirs that you are opening a probate case. In some cases, it’s required to put notice in the local paper. The executor must pay off all debts of the decedent provided that there are means to do so through what is owned by the estate. This includes selling real estate in order to pay off a debt. Unfortunately taxes also need to be paid before any proceeds are recognized by the estate. It’s required to file tax returns for the deceased and pay any inheritance taxes that are due.
Inventory will need to be taken
In addition to real estate, the courts will need to know about other investments such as stocks, bonds, cards, deeds, bank accounts, or any other high-value items. These items will be taken into account when paying off debts from entitled creditors as well as when assets are distributed between beneficiaries. For this part of the process, it is a good idea to work with a probate attorney to ensure everything is properly discovered and accurately recorded.
The Process Can Be Time Consuming
Unfortunately, if you’re the executor of the estate this can be very time consuming. You’ll be in charge of the required paperwork, coordination of various activities and even attending court hearings if required. Because of this, the executor can be entitled to collect compensation for this work. It’s best to check with your estate attorney to determine the amount allowed. Having a will puts a plan in place leaving little to be decided by the courts. Some probate cases can be wrapped up in a matter of months, while others can take a couple of years to be completed. If you have the luxury of having everything together ahead of time, it will make the process go much more smoothly.
You Can Sell The Property While In Probate
A quick and easy solution for a house in probate is to simply sell it. If the estate is intestate, meaning no will is present, the house will need to be sold through the probate courts, which is a highly regulated process. There are court fees and specific processes that must be followed. These processes vary from state to state.
That said, if an estate is testate, (i.e. there is a will in place) the executor will be able to petition the courts to sell the house on their own. This is ideal for those who want to avoid court costs while retaining more control of the process. For those who want to save even more money, quickly selling your inherited property to a professional buyer who is familiar with the probate process may be the best way to go. When you work with We Buy Lancaster Houses, you won’t have any of the expenses you will likely incur when working with a Lancaster real estate agent. For example, you won’t be faced with commissions, repair costs, or marketing expenses.
In some cases, heirs can be surprised by property left to them in a will. They may not want to keep it or be financially prepared to do so. When the latter is the case, spending money on repairs, upgrades, and other listing costs will likely be out of the question. By selling their inherited Lancaster house directly, they’ll be able to quickly sell, pay off debts and divide the sale proceeds amongst the heirs as laid out by the court.
Before you think about selling your inherited property in Lancaster, make sure you have the authority to do so.