Probate refers to the process by which a deceased person’s estate is distributed to his or her heirs, also known as ‘beneficiaries’. Typically, a person assigns an ‘executor’, who will be in charge of distributing the estate according to the deceased’s wished. It is the responsibility of the excutor to locate the heirs, make sure all debts the estate owes are paid, make sure estate taxes are paid, and gathers all the posessions and documents necessarty for final transfer. If the estate does not have ample liquid funds for settling the debts, the executor arranges that some or all of the posessions be sold until the bills are paid. Should the deceased not leave a will, the estate is said to be ‘intestate’, the state becomes the effective executor, and a state judge will make a final decision on who will receive the assets, including personal effects.
There are many actions one can take to optimize their estate for life events and the legal consequences. The attorneys and Starzynski Van Der Jagt, P.C. can assist you with your estate planning.