The probate process is how probate courts dissolve an estate after its owner passes away. The probate process ensures the estate pays any remaining debts. After the creditors are paid off, the probate process distributes the remaining assets to any beneficiaries. Anything that remains could be distributed to a surviving spouse or family members.
When Is Probate Necessary?
Probate can ensure an estate is lawfully dissolved following the death of its owner. Many people pass on without having their estate undergo a lengthy probate process, but it might become necessary for several reasons.
The most common reason is the deceased did not leave a will to guide on how the estate should be distributed upon that person’s death.
Another problem might arise if the deceased created a will but did not update it over time to reflect life changes. Maybe the deceased had been married when initially creating a will but afterward got divorced and remarried. Without an updated will, the original will might be contested in the probate court. A will also might not be properly witnessed and filed, which could nullify it.
Many other reasons might also trigger the probate process. At all times, the probate court has the final say in how an estate is distributed after its owner dies. The court will do its best to abide by the provisions of a will. It also will try to follow any lawful provisions of a formal estate plan, but disputes could arise.
How to Avoid a Lengthy Probate Process?
You might own a home, automobile, and other personal items. You also might have a life insurance policy or investments that are of value. No matter how big or small your estate is, it has value worth protecting.
An estate plan is the best way to protect your assets and your loved ones. A well-prepared estate plan will help prevent conflicts after your passing. An experienced attorney can help you create a will and other estate planning documents to better control your assets. You also can update your will and/or estate plan as needed.
Media Estate Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Can Help You With the Probate Process
Our Media estate lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. can help with your estate planning, including setting up a will. You can call us at 610-565-3701 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we assist clients in Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.