As you cope and come to terms with the death of a parent, you may have many questions running through your mind about what will happen to their property. Any property and belongings they leave behind is called their estate. The process in which you might distribute or sell their property, pay any unpaid bills and pay their debts is called probate.
Probate can be costly and time consuming, but there are a few ways in which you can help your family avoid probate court. Making sure you name beneficiaries, live in a community property state or sell your property and assets before death can help resolve probate concerns.
Losing a parent is difficult at any age. Even when a parent has lived a long and full life, saying goodbye is rarely easy. Not only do the adult children have to deal with the loss, they also have to deal with the legal aspects of a death, which can be daunting and confusing, especially during an already difficult time.
The situation often goes something like this: After a loved one passes away, his or her family members are surprised to learn of a last-minute change in the will. Large sums of money or property were left to a single person. The change just doesn't seem in line with your loved one's intentions. Suspicions build, and you start to wonder whether the recipient twisted your loved one's arm.
If someone close to you has passed away and you need to wrap up his or her affairs, you may not know where to begin. You may be asking yourself several questions. Do I need to probate the will? What does a probate court do? Do I need an attorney? Below are answers to some of these common questions.