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How to Navigate the Succession and Probate Process? What You Need to Know

Succession/Probate is a legal process that can seem complex and daunting, but understanding how it works is crucial for anyone involved in estate planning. In this comprehensive guide, we'll demystify successions and probate by explaining what it is, when it applies, the steps involved, and valuable tips for simplifying and expediting the probate proceedings.

What is Succession and When Does It Apply?

Understanding Succession and Probate:

Succession/Probate is the legal process through which a deceased person's estate is administered and their assets are distributed to legatees (beneficiaries) or heirs. It involves validating the deceased person's will (if one exists), paying a debts owed by the deceased person and overseeing the the distribution of assets.

When is it necessary to do a Succession?

· When the deceased person owned assets that require a succession. Life insurance policies and Retirement accounts that have a living named beneficiary do not need to go through a succession process.

· When the value of the deceased person's estate exceeds $125,000 (excluding assets that transfer outside of succession/probate) a succession must be opened. If the deceased person's estate is valued less than $125,000 AND other criteria are met; the deceased person's property MAY be able to be transferred by a streamlined process using an affidavit of small succession.

Steps Involved in the Succession and Probate Process

Step 1: Filing a Petition: The process begins with a person hiring an attorney to file a petition with the local district court. This person is often the executor named in the will or an interested party.

Step 2: Notification of Heirs and Creditors: Heirs and creditors are notified of the deceased's passing and the succession/probate process. Creditors are given an opportunity to make claims against the estate.

Step 3: Inventory and Appraisal: The executor compiles an inventory of the deceased's assets and has them appraised if necessary. This is crucial for determining the estate's value.

Step 4: Payment of Debts and Taxes: Outstanding debts, including taxes, are paid from the estate's assets. This step can be complex and time-consuming.

Step 5: Asset Distribution: Once debts and taxes are settled, the remaining assets are distributed to beneficiaries according to the will or state intestacy laws.

Step 6: Final Accounting and Closing: The executor provides a final accounting of all transactions to the court, and the court approves the distribution. The estate is then closed.

Be Patient and Prepared:

Succession and Probate can be a lengthy process, so being patient and prepared for potential delays is important. In conclusion, probate/succession is a necessary legal process that ensures the orderly distribution of a deceased person's assets. While it can seem complex, with careful planning and the right approach, you can simplify and expedite probate proceedings. Remember that professional guidance is often invaluable during this process, and a well-crafted estate plan can make a significant difference in how smoothly probate is handled.

By understanding the steps involved you can navigate the succession and probate process with confidence, ensuring that the wishes of the deceased are carried out efficiently and effectively.

Nothing is this article is a substitute consulting with an experienced succession attorney to receive legal advice regarding your situation.

Use the following link to schedule a consultation:

Or Call Attorney Ryan C. Hamilton at 504-940-1883.

Succession and Estate Planning Attorney

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