The common notion is that men are not very keen on paperwork, it is such a tedious job, anyways. Sometimes, we delay working on our taxes, bills, bank concerns, and whatnot because they are a bit time-consuming. This is why the stereotype is that women are the more organized and systematic because they tend to be a few steps ahead, inevitable death included. But when it comes to probate, men should be familiar with it and the process that is involved in it.
As men who are fathers, brothers, and sons to our loved ones, it is important to know what will happen if, God forbid, something happens to us. We can prepare for it right now with experts in probate in NSW, NY, UK or other places, so that we will be able to help our relatives by lessening the burden on them. In a time of grief, your relatives will need all the comfort and help they can get so that they can cope with losing someone they love.
What is probate?
In simple terms, probate is a legal process that happens right after a person has died. Probate lawyers will have to prove in court that the decedent’s will is valid. Once the will has been deemed valid, certain things will have to be identified and inventoried, like: estate, assets, and debts.
The probate process helps in transferring your assets in an orderly and supervised manner. Because there might be debts that were still left unpaid, this process is important to see if an amount from the assets are enough to pay it off so that the burden to the relatives will be alleviated somehow.
It is important to know what probate is so that you will be familiar with what the court and your lawyers will be doing in the next few days after your loved one has died.
What are the basic steps in the probate process?
There are actually a few simple steps in the probate process. What makes it a lengthy process is determined by how much work should be done per step.
- Identifying your representative and validating your will
Usually, your will already states who you want to be your representative, the person who you want to be in charge of after you die. However, the court decides who your representative will be if you did not specify it in your will. If you do not have a will, or if the named representative has died, too, your relatives can volunteer to be your representative if any of the problems occur, either way, they will have to take an oath of office and receive Letters of Administration before the probate process can officially begin.
The representative will then file a Petition for Probate of Will, which basically means admitting your will to probate court and proving its validity.
- Notifying relatives and creditors
Next is to let all concerned parties know that the one who made the will has already passed, and the beneficiaries will take charge of all the assets and liabilities. It is also important to let creditors know who the beneficiaries are because there might be debts that are still left unpaid. The reason behind this is to let the people who might have a vested interest in the estate and assets who they are going to negotiate with.
This can be done through personal phone call or newspaper announcements in the obituary section.
- Inventorying assets
The next thing to do is to determine the overall value of your assets and estate. This is important to see if you have left enough to pay off your debts and still have something of value to distribute to the loved ones. This is also to make sure that everything you own are all accounted for.
If what’s left are not enough to pay the creditors, it will have to be transferred to the beneficiaries. So if you intended to give them most of what you had, they might get less of that or maybe nothing at all.
- Distributing inheritance
The final step of the probate process distributes all your assets to the following, and most likely, in this order:
- Legal fees
- Family allowances
- Funeral expenses
- Taxes and debts
- All remaining claims
After the taxes, fees, and debts, all that remains will go to the beneficiaries you named in your will. If you did not leave a will, the court will determine how the assets will be distributed.
We see ourselves as protectors and providers of our families and significant others, and being familiar with the probate process helps us to continue protecting the interests of our loved ones and providing for them even in death.