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Probate 101 - How it really works

What exactly is the Probate process?

When a family member passes away and they leave assets and debts to be accounted for, probate is the financial tally of what's left behind. In other words, Probate is the legal process that ensures all outstanding bills, unpaid taxes, and outstanding debts are paid. Distribution for the remaining assets are directed by the last Will and Testament (or by state law in the absence of a Will).

Types of estate administration for probate

As people grow older in Missouri, the type of responsibilities they have change and their priorities change as well. Many are focusing on retirement and what they need in order to stop working and live the lifestyle they would like to live during it. They also should be planning for what is going to happen to their possessions when they pass on. This can be accomplished through various methods, but one way is to have a will that states which people will receive their possessions after they pass away.

Guiding people through the probate process in Missouri

Everyone in Missouri will lose family members throughout their lives. The family members of the deceased will leave a lot of memories for their loved ones. They will also leave all of their property. This property will be given to people who were left for family members and friends either in a will or pursuant to intestate law. However, there is a process that needs to occur in order to ensure the proper people receive the property and that is the probate process.

Time limitations for creditors to file claim against an estate

During people's lives in Missouri they do many different things, work many different jobs, earn different amounts of money and incur different amounts debt. All of things are very relevant to the person while they are living, but they cannot take any of these things with them after they pass away. So, all of their property and debts must be dealt with by those who survive them. This is accomplished through the probate process when all assets are distributed and debts are paid.

Different reasons that people challenge wills in probate

When people pass away in Missouri, they cannot take anything with them. Their property and assets will remain here and will need to be distributed. Therefore, there are laws in place that dictate where the property will go. The laws state that the property will go to various family members depending on their relationship to the deceased. However, people do not always have a good relationship with their family members or they believe certain family members need the property more than another.

What is the basic process for probate?

When people pass away in Missouri, there is always a period of mourning that the family and friends of the deceased go through. However, there is also another aspect that the family will have to deal with after the death as well and that is distributing the assets owned by the deceased at the time of their death. Obviously people cannot take those belongings with them and the possessions cannot just stay in limbo. So, these assets need to be distributed to those who survive them.

Who may challenge a will in probate?

One of the main reasons that it can benefit Missouri residents to work with knowledgeable estate planning attorneys to create their wills and other testamentary documents is that such experts can help their clients create estate plans that stand up to challenges. An estate that is challenged during probate can be stuck in the process for years, creating more problems and costing more money to work through and ultimately resolve. Not everyone has the power to challenge every estate, and this post will explore what parties may have standing to challenge probated estates.

Why should individuals avoid letting their estates go to probate?

Making plans for one's death is not always high on the list for a St. Louis resident to do. In fact, it can be downright depressing to think about how one's assets and possessions should be divided up when the owner is no longer alive and using them. When a person dies their estate will be distributed and managed according to the plan they put in place and in some cases that process can involve the use of the probate system.

The purpose of probate

Most people have probably heard of probate in the context of it being something they should avoid at all costs. However, not everyone is able to keep their end-of-life estate out of this legal process. Missouri residents who want to avoid probate should talk to their estate planning attorneys about how to accomplish their estate planning goals. This post though, will offer a brief explanation of what probate really is.

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