Probate attorneys are keenly aware of the difficulties families encounter when a loved one’s estate enters the probate process. This process can extend out for many months, consuming not only time but also precious resources from which other beneficiaries may have been helped.
Those who are appointed as executors of an estate can find themselves carrying a significant burden in addition to the grief they are experiencing due to the loss of a loved one.
In order to move through the probate process in the most efficient matter, there are a few things you should know ahead of time, and some steps you can take to help the process along.
Responsibilities of the personal representative
It’s important to ensure that the executor or personal representative of the deceased is responsible, organized, smart with money, and not hindered by other obligations involving family or work that causes the probate process to be prolonged more than necessary. If deadlines are missed, probate proceedings can suffer significant delays.
As an executor of the estate, it is important to create an inventory of assets as well as obtain appraisals when needed. An experienced Maryville probate attorney can help you coordinate this process with the courts as needed as it concerns real estate, personal effects, or other types of assets. He or she can also help you file any applicable tax forms.
Make sure to talk to the creditors
An important step in the probate process is informing creditors of the decease of your loved one. Now, we know that no one really likes talking to creditors, but they won’t stop looking for their payments as long as they think your loved one is still alive. Death changes how they pursue their payments, and keeping them in the loop can help expedite the process.
What you should know about assets
Remember that list of assets we mentioned? There’s one thing you need to remember:
Proper classification of assets is crucial to keep the process moving.
Certain assets such as retirement benefits, life insurance, and trust assets do not belong in the probate process – these assets transfer automatically to the beneficiary after the decedent’s death. The assets that are difficult to value have the potential to delay the probate process. These include:
- Business rights or other complex property
- Highly illiquid property
- Patents or other forms of intellectual property
A prompt and accurate review of these assets and how they will be either distributed or otherwise disposed of can ensure they do not stand in the way of a timely probate process.
If you need help commencing or managing the probate process after the death of a loved one, turn to our team at Shepherd and Associates, P.C. Our team of Maryville estate planning lawyers can go over your options and potential next steps to help you experience the most efficient probate possible. To get started with a free consultation, please call us at 865-225-9655 or email us through our contact form.