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The family may have to go through probate when their loved one passes and it has negative connotations surrounding the process. It can be a lengthy process, but usually it is completed in a timely manner. Why would an estate have to go through probate?

1. Probate Process Validates the Will

In order for the will to be validated, the will must be signed by two witnesses over 18. It must be typed to be considered valid, but a handwritten version may be acceptable. Named heirs will be contacted and given the chance to challenge the will if they see fit.

2. Your Estate Will be Thoroughly Accounted For

The executor named in the will (if the deceased left a will) can begin an inventory of assets and can pay off any debts left over in the estate. If there is no will, the court will appoint an executor to handle the affairs. After debts and taxes are paid off, all the remaining assets can be distributed to the heirs and beneficiaries.

3. You Can Resolve Disputes in a Formal Setting

Emotions may get heated during probate sometimes, especially because of the grief experienced by the family members. They may be unable to settle disputes out of court because of the heightened emotions, so probate court provides a setting that encourages formality and composure in order to sort issues out calmly.

4. Probate Transfers Assets in a Proper Time Frame

Family members and loved ones will receive their inheritance in a timely manner and if there is a complicated arrangement like a divorce or something more complex, then a probate judge will use state law to determine who has the strongest claim to the assets.

5. Creditors May Contact the Executor to Settle Debts

Creditors looking to satisfy debts on an estate can easily contact the executor or estate planning lawyer to trust that the credit is paid off before assets are distributed to the family. Then the executor may close accounts through probate process.

Probate is an orderly legal process to settle the deceased’s affairs. The court and executor can work together to file taxes, settle debt and mitigate disputes in a proper manner. Consult an estate planning lawyer Abingdon VA offers if you are concerned about your estate plan and the probate process. Don’t wait, call for a free consultation on your future estate plans.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from the Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt for their insight into estate planning.