When someone passes away, the state where they resided or held property oversees the wrapping up of their affairs through a process known as probate.
Generally speaking, probating an estate involves three elements: Submitting a last will and testament to the state if there is one in place, paying off outstanding debts including the filing of a final tax return, and distributing the assets in the estate, either according to a will or if there is no will, then according to state law.
If there is no dispute amongst potential heirs and the estate consists of assets that are not too complicated or diverse, this process can be very straightforward. However, things can get complicated quickly in a variety of situations.
If there is a dispute over the validity of the will, whoever submitted the will to the court will be required to defend its validity. If there is no will, the beneficiaries will need to be determined by reviewing the state’s intestacy laws, which will explain how to distribute the assets based upon the heirs relationship to the person who has passed away.
Other common probate issues include situations where an executor or administrator of the estate either refuses to act or does so improperly. Another problem may arise where the estate assets are structured in a way that makes it difficult to distribute them as required by either the last will or state law.
Lastly, it’s often the case that family members will argue over items in the estate or its proposed distribution. When this situation arises, it may be best to bring in a third party who can assist in distributing the estate assets without any appearance of preference toward one heir or another.
The process of probating someone’s estate can be very straightforward or extremely complicated. If you’ve been tasked with this responsibility and are unsure of where to start, Rosenblum Law can assist you with guidance and a free consultation.
Read More: https://rosenblumlaw.com/estate-planning/nj/probate/