Following a death of a loved one, assets titled in that deceased person’s name will often go through a court-managed process called Probate. During this process, the court oversees the management and distribution of the deceased person’s assets.
Typically, a Personal Representative (or executor) is named in a Will. If there is no will, a surviving spouse or family member will be appointed by the court. The Personal Representative is responsible to find the deceased person’s assets and manage them until they are distributed.
How can Epiphany Law help?
Epiphany Law’s probate team can help relieve some of the anxiety while ensuring your loved one’s estate is handled the way they intended. Our goal is to help eliminate stress and advise Personal Representatives on how to settle the estate. Epiphany Law will assist the Personal Representative in all areas of the process including:
- Appointing a Personal Representative
- Taking inventory count & liquidate assets if necessary
- Resolving any/all creditor claims
- Filing tax forms in a timely manner
- Distributing of assets to beneficiaries
Our experienced team provides not only the necessary legal expertise, but also peace of mind when you need it most.
Questions & Answers
Q: Does a will avoid Probate?
A: No! A Will is your instruction to the Probate court regarding how your property is to be distributed.
Q: I’ve heard that Probate takes a long time—is that true?
A: The average time for an estate to go through Probate is 12-24 months. Some estates take much longer if they are large or there are claims. The shortest time frame is about six months. The amount of time depends on the type of assets, value of assets, tax issues and creditors’ claims.
Q: How much does the Probate process cost and who pays the fees?
A: The fees involved in Probate consist of the following: court filing fees, attorney fees, and personal representative fees. Attorney fees vary based upon the complexity of each estate. Most attorneys charge an hourly rate. In general, all fees are paid from the decedent’s estate.
Q: What assets goes through Probate?
- Descendant’s bank accounts with no co-owner or beneficiary
- Property owned solely by the descendant
- Tangible personal property registered only to descendant
- Stocks and bonds solely in the descendant’s name
- Assets outside of Trusts
Q: What assets avoid Probate?
A: Some kinds of assets transfer automatically at the death of an owner with no probate required. Examples include:
- Accounts that have a valid Payable on Death (POD) or Transfer on Death (TOD)
- Property with joint tenants
- Life insurance policies and retirement accounts with a designated beneficiary
- Property in a trust