The death of a parent or spouse can be a devastating loss. Even an expected death after a long illness can be a traumatic experience for the family. After the initial shock wears off, the next question is “What am I supposed to do now?”
For many families the answer is they need to probate the deceased person’s estate. “Probate” refers to the general process of a court recognizing the person’s death and administering the distribution of their assets and payment of their creditors.
Most probate cases involve presenting the deceased person’s will to the court and asking the judge to appoint a person – usually someone named in the will – to be named executor of the estate. The executor’s job is to gather all estate assets, identify and pay debts lawfully owed to valid creditors, and distribute what’s left to the beneficiaries named in the will. Typically, the will must be filed for probate within 4 years after the death.
There are numerous different types of probate proceedings. Not everyone has a will. Some people die without a will and leave behind significant debts. Others die leaving a will, but they owned little property other than their home and their bank accounts and had no debts. Others still had a valid will, but the family members did not file it for probate within 4 years. Each different scenario requires a different strategy to pass on assets and minimize exposure to creditors.
The experienced attorneys at The Michels Law Firm can tailor a probate strategy for your family that will help relieve stress during an already difficult time. Some of the probate issues we handle are:
- Probate of a Will and Appointment of Independent Executor
- Dependent and Independent Administrations of Estates
- Affidavits of Heirship
- Muniments of Title
- Small Estates Affidavit
- Will Contests
- Orders for No Administration
- Informal Administration of Community Property