Dealing with the Probate Process: 8 Helpful Tips

When your relative or a loved one passes away, it’s almost always a tragedy. But the worst thing about such a situation is that you can’t simply grieve but need to take care of all the formal procedures, including the funeral and, in some cases, a probate process (here you can find out how long does probate take). And it can be very tough to go to court hearings and take care of all the necessary documents when you are not feeling well emotionally.

If you found yourself in a similar situation, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, you will find a list of helpful tips for dealing with the probate process, including locating the will and the personal representative, securing, and protecting the property, finding the statements for the deceased person’s accounts, hiring a probate attorney, and many more. Read on – and we hope that this article will help you get through.

Find the Will.

The first thing you need to do when someone passes away is to locate the will. The will is a legally binding document that tells you who the personal representative is, lists all the assets and debts of the deceased, specifies who should inherit the property, and so on. In most cases, the will can be found somewhere special in your relative’s house or apartment.

You should check for it in places like the office or bedroom. And if you don’t find it there, try looking for it in safe deposit boxes, inside a safe, a book, an envelope, and other things.

Find the Personal Representative

The personal representative is the person who handles the estate after the death of your relative or loved one. In some cases, the person in question is also named as the executor in the will. If this is not the case, then you will have to find out who the executor is.

Usually, the personal representative is appointed by the court if no one else applies for this position within 30 days after the death of the person. You should contact an attorney licensed in your state for help with locating the personal representative.

Identify All Debts and Assets

When someone dies, their debts and assets must be identified, and it’s your responsibility to do that if you have been named the executor of a will. You should find out whether there are any outstanding debts (such as credit card debt and car loans) and whether there are any assets left behind (such as real estate and financial accounts).

Some of these things may be listed in the will, but most likely, they won’t be. So, you should contact creditors yourself to find out how much money is supposed to be paid back and what assets you own. It’s also good to know what records you need to keep getting a fair value for all the assets when it comes time to settle them.

Take Care of All Paperwork

You also need to take care of all paperwork that arises because of your relative or loved one’s death:

  • cancel their driver license.
  • notify insurance companies.
  • terminate life insurance policies.
  • notifying government agencies, etc.

Secure and Protect the Property

You need to keep your relative or loved one’s property safe during the probate process. A probate attorney can help you with this, if necessary, but you should also do everything that you can on your own.

You should:

  • remove valuable items from the home or apartment.
  • close bank and investment accounts
  • notify utility companies, etc.

In some cases, it may be necessary to seek legal protection for your relative or loved one’s property if someone tries to claim it is theirs or they want to get access to it. If that happens, you should contact a probate attorney who can help you with this.

Find Statements for the Deceased Person’s Accounts

If you want to find out how much money is in your relative’s bank accounts, you need to gather all the statements for their accounts. You should check whether any other financial accounts might have assets as well (such as brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, etc.).

You should also find statements for all of the decedent’s credit cards and car loans. These statements will tell you how much money is still owed and whether anyone has used them since the death of your relative or loved one. For example, if someone used a credit card, you could report it stolen or delinquent. And if someone uses a car loan, you can repossess the vehicle.

Contact Creditors and Debtors

If a deceased person has outstanding debts, you should contact creditors to find out more information. Make sure to:

  • find out how much money is owed.
  • ask for proof of the debt (specific documents, such as credit card statements and car loan statements)
  • find out whether the debt can be reported as delinquent or stolen, etc.

You may also need to contact some of the deceased person’s creditors if you want to cancel their accounts. For example, if a decedent had a credit card, you could request a statement showing the amount due from the card issuer to settle the account. And if they had a car loan, you could contact the lender to see whether you can repossess the vehicle.

In addition to contacting creditors, you should also try to get in touch with people who owe money to a deceased person. You may also want to find out if these people have any other assets that might be available for distribution through probate court proceedings. It’s also possible that they have a car loan or some other type of financial obligation that can be settled as part of the probate process.

Hire a Probate Attorney

If you are dealing with probate court proceedings, you must hire a probate attorney of Atlanta. They can help you with all of the necessary procedures. They will also be able to help you with filing court motions and representing you in court hearings.

You should hire a probate attorney if:

  • you want to contest the will
  • you are not sure if you were appointed as a personal representative in the will or you want to challenge your appointment.
  • you can’t locate the personal representative and can’t find the will.
  • you need help with locating assets or figuring out what assets you have.
  • you want to sell your relative or loved one’s property, etc.

A probate attorney will be able to help you with all of these things and more. So, if you think that you may need legal advice, you should contact a probate attorney right away.

Conclusion

The probate process can be very challenging for a loved one who has just lost their relative or loved one. It’s not easy to deal with the emotions that come with such a situation, but you also have to deal with legal matters. And it can be challenging to do both at once.

Fortunately, now you know what you need to do in order to deal with the probate process. And hopefully, this article will help you get through it as easily as possible.