10 Things Estate Planning Attorneys in Las Vegas Recommend Knowing About Probate
If you’re looking to leave a will behind after you pass on, the fact is that your family is likely to have to go through probate. There is a misconception that probate is something that we should avoid at all costs; however, probate is very common and can be a speedy process if done correctly. Thus, the following includes 10 things you should know about the probate process.
10. What Is the Probate Process?
Many people don’t know what the probate process is or what probate even means. However, that is very understandable as most people will not have to deal with it more than once or twice in their lifetime. So, what exactly is probate? According to estate planning attorneys in Las Vegas, probate is the process of authenticating a last will and testament. The process includes detailing everything in the estate, placing value on it, paying any debts you may have had, and lastly, distributing the assets to the people you placed within your will.
9. Know the Terms that Estate Planning Attorneys in Las Vegas Know
Probate is filled with a number of uncommon terms that the ordinary person may know have ever heard about. That is why estate planning attorneys in Las Vegas promote the importance of familiarizing yourself with the various terms you’re going to encounter. Failure to do so can lead to making costly mistakes. So, let’s begin with the decedent and who that is within probate. The decedent is the person who owned the estate and created the will. If the person left a will, they would be called a testate estate or intestate estate if they did not leave anything behind. The executor is the person who is appointed by the courts to deal with the estate. A personal representative is usually a catch-all designation for both administrators and executors.
8. Probate Records Are Public
If you’re worried about other people knowing your personal business, probate may be something you should attempt to avoid. The fact is that a large majority of probate will be made public. A probate attorney may help you understand the process much better and may place your mind at peace. Fortunately, most families do not have dirty laundry that they are scared of sharing with the world.
7. Debts and Taxes Don’t Go Away
Contrary to popular belief, your debts and taxes are not going to go away after you pass on. Creditors and the IRS will begin looking at your estate to see what they can obtain to pay back what you owe. For example, if you owe money on your car loan, it is likely to be taken by creditors to repay anything you owe on it because it is considered a secured loan. In terms of taxes owed, the IRS will look into any liquid assets you may have left over to repay back taxes.
6. Start Creating an Inventory of Assets
Although it can be waived by the courts, your personal representative will still need to make an inventory of all your assets. This is done to ensure that nothing is being hidden from family and friends are included in your estate plan. In addition, an inventory list of your assets can help mitigate any challenges introduced by your family members.
5. Probate Assets
Perhaps the most common issue people have with probate is understanding which are probate assets and which are not. One of the best ways to determine and remember if your assets are considered probate assets is to think about if the assets are in your name alone. If they are, then they will be added to the inventory. However, any joint accounts such as retirement accounts are usually going to transfer to a spouse.
4. Fees Involved in Probate
Much like any legal proceedings, there are going to be a few fees that need to be paid. Those fees are likely to be taken out by your estate and will be used to pay personal representative and attorney fees, to name a few.
3. How Long a Probate Process Takes
The unfortunate fact is that the average probate period will be around 6 months. This is largely due to waiting periods of certain assets and, of course, the speed at which the courts move. However, the probate period may be shorter if there is less to deal with.
2. Understanding the Power of the Courts
Understandably, people are going to be worried about how much the courts have over their estate. Fortunately, the courts usually only act as overseers of the entire process. This will usually only chime in if they begin to see some irregularities or if there is a challenge filed by one of the family members.
1. Probate Closes, Then What?
Once everything has been distributed, and creditors/IRS have been paid, the personal representative will summarize everything to ensure that nobody is missing or if they have any challenges regarding the distribution. Once that occurs, the courts will allow the matter to be closed, and the personal representative will be relieved of their duties.