At some point in your life you should have written a will. That will dictates what you want done with your belongings and financial holdings after your death. It may also set up a guardianship for any children you may have. After you die, that will goes into effect.
However, it isn't an automatic process. There are steps that need to happen before everything can be disbursed. The process to getting that done is called probate:
What Is Probate?
Probate is both a legal document and the process. There is a probate court that the will must be submitted to in order to test the will. A will being tested means that it's being checked to make sure that all the claims are valid and legal.
If the will is out-of-date and some beneficiaries are no longer around, a probate court can make decisions as to what will happen in that case. The probate court also handles any counterclaims or suits against the will. If a person dies intestate, or without a will, the probate court will also help to decide where the estate is to go.
Once the court has made their decision, they will issue the probate document, which lays out their decision and what should be done.
Who Handles Probate?
The executor of your will needs to get legal assistance in order to get the probate finished. There are probate attorneys who can get through the entire process. The probate attorney doesn't need to be the lawyer who helped you draft your will, however, it really is a good idea to have someone who is familiar with your estate handle to process.
The attorney will also defend the will against anyone who is trying to overturn it or who has objections to it. After the will has gone through the entire probate process, the attorney will help the executor handle the disbursement of the will, especially if there are any legal trusts or guardianships that were laid out in the will.
If there is no executor appointed in the will, the probate attorney can also help set someone up as the executor or representative to handle everything.
A will makes sure that what you want to happen is followed after you are dead. But it needs a little help to make sure that happens. Dealing with a probate attorney will make that process happen, and make sure that your heirs get what you wanted them to. To learn more, contact a company such as O'Connor, Mikita & Davidson with any questions or concerns you have.