Probate & Estate Administration Information Center
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Frequently Asked Questions about Probate and Estate Administration
Q: What is probate?
A: In general, probate is the court procedure by which a will's validity is proved, assets collected, creditors paid and the remaining assets distributed to beneficiaries under the will.
Q: What is a will contest?
A: A will contest is a legal action that challenges the validity of a will and/or the terms of the will. Will contests typically involve allegations that a will was inadequately executed, invalidated by a later will or was the result of forgery or undue influence.
A will contest can result in a significant delay in the distribution of a loved one's assets, and can also be expensive. The costs of a will contest are paid out of the estate, which may significantly deplete the available funds. If you are concerned that a will may be subject to a will contest, contact an experienced probate and estate administration attorney today.
Kalamazoo Attorneys: Probate and Estate Administration
Estate administration, sometimes including probate, is the legal process involved in settling the affairs of an estate following a person's death. It can be complex and time consuming, even when the deceased person took steps in advance to have his or her legal affairs in order. Probate and estate administration can be further complicated by the emotional issues and family concerns that frequently accompany the loss of a loved one. To minimize the complications and make things move smoothly for all involved, it is wise to obtain the assistance of an attorney who is thoroughly experienced in probate and estate administration. To learn more about our law firm's experience with probate and estate administration, or trust administration, please contact Willis Law by phone or e-mail.
Probate and Estate Administration - An Overview
Estate administration refers to the process of probating the estate of a decedent, which generally includes collecting, inventorying and appraising assets; paying and collecting debts; filing and paying estate taxes; and distributing any remaining assets to beneficiaries. An experienced probate and estate administration attorney from Willis Law in Kalamazoo, Michagan, can help simplify this complicated process. If you need help in the administration of an estate, call Willis Law today.
The Probate Process
Probate is the court process used to determine the validity of a will and oversee the payment of creditors and distribution of estate assets. Even if there is no valid will at the time of death, the estate will still go through the probate procedure. Since probate is regulated by state laws, there are specific procedures prescribed by each state for carrying out the process.
Role of the Executor
An executor is the person named by the creator of the will (the testator) to carry out the terms and provisions of the will. In addition to locating important documents and notifying Social Security, pension providers, annuity providers and other entities of the death, the executor has numerous other legal responsibilities.
Assets disposed of outside the probate process are part of the non-probate estate. Because a probate proceeding is not required, these assets are distributed more quickly to the appropriate beneficiaries. Many people seek out these assets and ownership models to save their loved ones from the difficulties associated with going through probate.
The fact that a person leaves a will does not guarantee that her or his property will be distributed according to the will's terms. A court generally must provide an opportunity to allow others to object to the will, and a legal challenge, called a will contest, may be brought by anyone with an interest in the will who believes it is invalid.