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Medicaid And Estate Planning Attorneys
Helping You Achieve
Peace Of Mind
Three lead attorneys at Livens & Reed, PLLC
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Understanding the ins and outs of the probate process

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2024 | Estate Planning |

The aftermath of losing a loved one can be a stressful and chaotic time. This can especially be true if you suffer the loss of a parent. One of the many responsibilities you may now suddenly be facing is dealing in some form or fashion with your deceased parent’s estate through the probate process.  

The legal process of settling a deceased individual’s estate is what’s known as probate. This process allows distribution of assets such as real estate, retirement and bank accounts, valuable family heirlooms and much more to beneficiaries. Many of these instances will include formal guidance from the deceased individual’s will, while in other cases, the deceased may have died interstate without a legal will.  

What happens in cases where a will exists? 

If your deceased parent passed away after formally establishing a will, then he or she is known as a testator. Within the will, an executor was most likely responsible for handling many of the duties involved in the probate process, including filing the will to initiate matters. It is from this point that the probate court has the authority to grant the executor the legal right to handle certain affairs of the deceased, which can include the following and more: 

  • Locating and managing all the deceased’s assets  
  • Determining an estimate of the estate’s value 
  • Filing the testator’s final income tax return  
  • Paying off the deceased’s debt and tax liabilities from the estate  

After the executor has handled all the required responsibilities, he or she will seek the probate court’s approval for distributing the estate’s remaining assets to the beneficiaries.  

What happens if there isn’t a will?  

If your deceased parent died interstate with no formal will, a probate court will typically designate an administrator to handle the affairs of his or her estate. In addition to many of the executor’s duties from above, the administrator is responsible for tracking down all the deceased’s legal heirs. From this point, it is the court’s discretion to distribute the estate’s assets as it best sees fit.  

Given all the potential complications and complexities that can arise during the probate process, including the potential for someone to challenge a will or for the court to deem it invalid, you probably have many questions and concerns in the aftermath of your parent’s passing. Fortunately, there are professional resources readily available to you that can provide you with much-needed support and help you better navigate these challenging times. 


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