Facts about Probate you need to know

Probate is the legal process through which a deceased person’s estate is properly distributed to heirs and designated beneficiaries and any debt owed to creditors is paid off. In general, probate property is distributed according to the decedent’s last will and testament, if there is one, or according to state law if no will exists. The inner workings and process of going through probate can be difficult. The Attorneys at Robinson, Seiler, Anderson & Fife, LC. Law Firm in Provo, Utah can help you to get through the process of probate. Below are some facts you need to know about probate to help you in the future.


What is Probate?

Probate is the court process of changing the title on assets owned by a deceased person. If a person owns bank accounts, investment accounts, real estate, or other assets in his or her individual name at the time of death, no one will be able to gain access to those assets until the court has appointed a Personal Representative (formerly called executor). The Personal Representative will be able to go to the bank or other financial institution where the assets are located with the court appointment in hand, and change the name on the account from the deceased person’s name to the name of the estate. Once that is done, the Personal Representative as the legal representative of the estate, will have access to the account and can sell investments, pay bills, make distributions, etc.


Not Everything Needs to be Probated

There are a few instances that assets won’t need to probated. For example if a husband and wife have a joint bank account and the husband dies, the joint bank account belongs automatically and entirely to the wife. She does not need to probate the account in order to get access to it. Similarly, if a deceased husband left an IRA, 401K plan, life insurance policy, or annuity of which the wife is named as the beneficiary, she does not need to go to probate court to gain access to those assets. If you are not listed as a beneficiary or are on the account then you will need to go through the probate process.


Probate takes Time and Money

The reality is that it usually takes the courts several months to process even the most routine probate filing. During that time period, no one has access to the probate assets. That can mean expenses such as the mortgage payment, real estate taxes, and the funeral bill are not paid for months. Court filing fees and legal fees to prepare the file probate documents and advise the Personal Representative can be significant.


For help in navigating the probate process and even possibly avoiding it in the future you will want to seek the help of the attorneys at Robinson, Seiler, Anderson & Fife, LC. Law Firm in Provo, Utah. We can help you to get your assets and final wishes in order.