Critical Mistakes to Avoid when Dealing with Probate Process

When a loved one passes away, the void they leave behind can be very cruel. The only way to remember them is by holding onto what they leave behind. More often than not, what they leave and to whom they leave it to, is found in the deceased person’s final will and testament. It is then the court’s duty to supervise the process of authenticating the final will left behind, if they made one before their passing. This is known as the probate process and it includes locating the deceased person’s assets, as well as determining its value. In addition, the process looks at paying their final taxes and any other bills, so that they may finally distribute the assets to their rightful beneficiaries. However, there are complications to the process that could arise and they may result in a mistake or two. To ensure that this is not the case, here are some of the most critical mistakes to avoid when you are dealing with this heavy task of probate. 

Failing to Retain Counsel 

The most obvious, as well as the most common mistake, pertains to the failure of retaining proper and competent counsel. This is essential to the fluidity of the process, especially as probate can get extremely complicated at times, as well as exceedingly draining. A lot of people will attempt to work their way between managing the probate process and mourning, however, success in this form of multitasking is highly improbable. This is due to the rules and requirements, which must all be completed in a timely manner. For this reason, it is absolutely necessary to hire an experienced estate attorney. To learn more information, you can read this page to understand all about how an attorney’s legal knowledge and invaluable experience will help you. Their services include gathering assets and valuations, arranging the payment of debts, and more. They will not only succeed to guide the executor in their obligations, but also ensure that all mistakes are avoided. 

Failure to Obtain Correct Papers & Documents 

Essentially, before anything is done, an executor is expected to secure the correct papers and original documents. However, it is common for executors to make errors during this significant responsibility, which may hinder the progress of the probate process. In order to avoid the complications that could follow, simply locate the original will and check with the executor that the correct papers for the petition for the court have been completed. But first, make sure that a will actually exists, otherwise you cannot proceed. 

Probate Process Details

Failure to Comply with Probate Requirements 

Probate requirements will likely change from one state to the other, so first read them carefully before moving forward. For the most part, laws and requirements of the process are not strict and they focus on informing those that have a claim. By law, everyone who has an interest or claim in the deceased person’s estate must be made aware of the estate and must be given notice in advance. Consequently, executors will need to make sure everyone named in the will and those who might have been disinherited or have a right to challenge the will are all given notice. Upon completing this task, the executor will inform the court. Afterward, you will need to look into advertising the estate, at least once a week, for three consecutive weeks. This is done in a legal paper and in a popular paper. The reason this is a requirement is to provide notice to creditors. In effect, claims made by creditors after a year has passed become redundant.

Failure to Calculate Taxes Correctly

Another critical mistake that can sabotage the entire probate process is a failure to calculate the estate taxes correctly. To avoid this mistake, you should know that almost all estates are subject to estate taxes and federal gifts. It is important to seek your estate attorney’s guidance in this task, seeing as an incorrect calculation can be extremely costly. Moreover, the executor will need to file tax returns for the estate. By successfully completing these tasks you will have avoided a dramatic decline in the estate’s value, which is more reason for why you need an estate attorney. 

All in all, these critical mistakes are easily avoidable where you are simply expected to follow up diligently. Once this is done you will be able to rest knowing that your loved one’s will has been properly distributed according to their desire. However, in order to successfully complete the probate process with ease it is strongly recommended that you seek the guidance of an estate attorney. They will not only help you avoid any hindrances, but also see to it that the process is completed.


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Team Parle

The collective team of Parlé Magazine. Twitter: @parlemag

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