What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process through which a deceased person's assets are distributed and their debts settled. It is important in estate planning because it ensures that the deceased person's estate is administered according to the law and their wishes as outlined in their will. Probate provides a transparent and orderly method for transferring property, resolving disputes, and validating the authenticity of the will. It helps protect the rights of beneficiaries, creditors, and other parties involved, ensuring a fair and efficient distribution of the estate.
To begin the probate process, click the button below to call or email our firm. You will speak to an assistant who will help determine what we can do for you and, if we can take the case, will schedule an appointment with Mr. Kocian for an initial consultation, where Mr. Kocian will go through your options in more detail and recommend next steps after that, which usually differ from case to case.
Areas of Probate Practice:
Probate of Will
Probate of a will is the legal process of validating and executing a deceased person's will. It is important in estate planning because it ensures that the will's instructions are followed, assets are distributed correctly, and debts are settled. Probate provides a formal and legally recognized framework for resolving disputes, protecting beneficiaries' rights, and ensuring a fair distribution of the estate according to the deceased person's intentions.
Probate without a will, also known as intestate probate, occurs when a person passes away without leaving a valid will. In such cases, the court follows the laws of the state to determine the distribution of the deceased person's assets. The court appoints an administrator to oversee the probate process and manage the estate. The administrator identifies and gathers the deceased person's assets, pays off debts and taxes, and then distributes the remaining assets among the legal heirs according to the state's intestacy laws. Probate without a will aims to ensure a fair distribution of assets and provide a legal framework for resolving any disputes that may arise during the process.
Probate without a Will
Probate alternatives are methods or strategies that allow for the transfer of assets after someone's death without going through the traditional probate process. These alternatives include utilizing living trusts, joint ownership with rights of survivorship, beneficiary designations, and gifting strategies. The purpose of these alternatives is to simplify the asset transfer, minimize costs, and expedite the distribution to beneficiaries. By utilizing probate alternatives, individuals can potentially avoid the time-consuming and public nature of probate, preserve privacy, and ensure a smoother transition of assets to their intended recipients.
Note: We do NOT practice Probate Litigation