Probate is the court-supervised process of winding up your affairs after death. Many people desire to avoid probate due to the expense and the amount of time it takes to probate an estate. However, the probate of most estates runs smoothly and is relatively inexpensive. The court's supervision ensures that any outstanding debts, taxes and claims against your estate are paid and that your remaining assets are divided among your heirs.
When you die with a will, or testate, the probate court will determine the validity of your will and oversee the closing of your estate. The person you named as executor will be in charge of collecting your assets, paying any debts owed by your estate, including taxes, and distributing your property to your named beneficiaries. When you die without a will, or intestate, the court will use state law to determine how to allocate your assets.
Losing a loved one can be extremely emotional. Carolyn’s compassion for her clients helps her to comfort and guide each client through the distress, confusion, and other emotions that go along with the death of a loved one. Her goal is to make the probate process as smooth and efficient as possible for each client.
Below is a basic overview of the probate process:
- Evaluating and determining the validity of your will, if you have one
- Gathering all of your assets, making an inventory of those assets and appraising their value; the assets that are included in your estate for purposes of probate are called collectively your probate estate and may include solely-owned property, as well as your interest in jointly-owned property, the value of collections, antiques and other miscellaneous household items
- Collecting any amounts due to you, such as outstanding paychecks or other sums
- Notifying your creditors and paying your outstanding expenses, debts and taxes; these are generally paid in the following order: costs and expenses involved with the administration of your estate, funeral expenses, debts and taxes, all other claims
- Distributing the remaining assets to the person(s) entitled to them, either under the terms of your will or the state's intestacy laws
For a more detailed look at the probate process, click on the following link for the Davidson County Probate Court. The information provided through the link is for information purposes only since each County’s process may be slightly different.
Probate is a court-supervised winding up of your affairs after death. Whether you die testate or intestate, your estate will probably go through probate. While probate does have certain costs associated with it, avoiding probate will not allow you to avoid death-related estate taxes. Moreover, dying without a will can actually increase the costs associated with probating your estate. If you have recently lost a loved one or want to ensure your estate is handled the way you desire it to be handled, contact the The Law Office of Carolyn Christoffersen.