If someone you love has passed away, you may be facing an intimidating probate process. However, probate does not have to be scary. Before searching “probate law Norfolk County MA,” consider learning more about the probate process.
Each state has its own legal probate process. However, its purpose is to verify and authenticate the will of a deceased person. This process ensures that all the person’s debts have been paid before the heirs receive the remaining assets. Probate only occurs after a death.
Who is Involved
A judge typically presides over the probate process. The deceased’s executor or personal representative deals with the estate. This person ensures that all debts are paid and that the assets are distributed based on the will. Executors are typically notified when a will is drafted so they are not surprised when the estate needs to be handled. Creditors and beneficiaries are also involved. Creditors collect debts, while beneficiaries receive distributed assets. Sometimes, individuals have a legal claim to assets being distributed but are not named in the will. These individuals will likely show up to the reading of the will and the probate hearing. Finally, minor children who are beneficiaries and their attorneys or representatives may be present.
Those who are in possession of a will are required to file it with the probate office as soon after death as possible. A death certificate may also be filed. Then, the beneficiaries can submit a probate application or petition. Witnesses or self-proving affidavits are used for authentication.
If no will is available, probate may still occur. For example, creditors will still seek their payments. In addition, if any assets are available, the court will determine their distribution based on the state’s probate laws and the beneficiaries’ relationship to the deceased.
Hearings allow any beneficiary or those who claim to have beneficiary status to object or make their arguments before the court.
If a loved one has passed away, consider contacting an attorney to help you through the probate process.