Before a will can be honored, it must go through a court procedure known as probate. While many people feel this is a process to be avoided, it proceeds very smoothly if the deceased drafted a will. However, without a will, this can be a more challenging endeavor but not entirely unmanageable.
Andrew Hoffman Law handles many probate matters, including those involving intestate succession (died without a will). We ensure the proper documents are filed, assist the personal representative through the steps, and help transfer property to the designated heirs.
What is probate?
Probate is the court-monitored distribution of property after death. When a loved one dies, it is prudent to contact an attorney to see if probate is required. It is possible that if your relative did not own real estate and has only low-value assets after debts are paid, you can distribute the remainder through an affidavit.
If needed, probate normally follows this course:
- Appointment of a personal representative – If there is a will, this individual is already named.
- Notice to heirs, potential heirs, and creditors – Heirs are normally named in a will, but if the individual died without one, all relatives may be notified. Creditors receive a notice as well.
- Payment of debts – Creditors who file a claim with the estate will be paid from estate assets.
- Inventory of the assets – A list of personal and real property is filed with the court. Insurance claims are normally processed during this time too.
- Distribution – Heirs receive assets after prior notice is given.
- Inheritance tax processing – If the estate is subject to federal or Nebraska tax, these are also assessed and paid.
While these steps may appear overwhelming to a layperson who is grieving, these are merely routine at Andrew Hoffman Law. We will proceed with skill and kindness as you face this difficult time and help honor the wishes of your loved one.
What is trust administration?
If a person has a Revocable Living Trust, then avoiding probate and the above process can be avoided. In many cases, depending on the facts and circumstances, a trust-based estate plan can be the best plan. Rest assured that your estate plan will be carefully reviewed so as to be certain that the best estate plan is tailored to your needs.
Above all, it is about peace of mind.
If you lost someone you love and need to manage what they left behind, contact Andrew Hoffman Law for a free consultation. Our offices are located in Atkinson, O’Neill, and Central City, but we serve we serve the entire Central Nebraska region—Stuart, O’Neill, Bassett, Ainsworth, Butte, Spencer, Chambers, Ewing, St. Paul, Bartlett, Greeley, Palmer, Aurora, and more!