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The system set up by each state, to handle the orderly transition of property and assets from a deceased person to living heirs and beneficiaries.

Many people are under the misconception that if you have a Last Will and Testament, it will not be necessary to go through the probate process. Unfortunately, having a Will often guarantees that a probate will be necessary. There are several ways to avoid probate, which I can help you with, including Living Trusts, appropriate beneficiary clauses and instruments like a “Ladybird Deed”. I have handled numerous cases, where individuals tried a “do it yourself” legal document and wound up creating more problems than they solved. I can help you avoid a probate, but I can also efficiently handle a probate, if one becomes necessary.

There are several types of Probate, with the most common being called “Formal Administration”. In Formal Administration, a personal representative, (either someone who is named in a Will, or a close relative/friend who petitions the Court to serve in that position) is required to gather all of the assets (inventory), pay all of the legitimate bills of the deceased person, and then to distribute the remaining balance to the rightful heirs.

While that sounds simple enough, detailed and accurate documents must be prepared and presented to the Court, all interested persons (legal heirs, named beneficiaries and creditors) must be given legal notice of most activities of the personal representative, and a specific final accounting must be prepared for, and approved by, the Court. For that reason, it is necessary to have an experienced attorney “handle the probate” for the personal representative.