At King Law, we understand the importance of having a Waynesville probate lawyer in your corner. In this article, we will explore the fundamentals of probate law, why it is important to have a probate lawyer, and how to find the right probate lawyer for you.
What Is Probate Law?
Probate law deals with the legal process of settling an estate after a person’s death. This includes gathering the deceased’s assets, paying off debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. The probate court oversees the process and ensures it is done properly.
Probate law also includes issues such as guardianship, conservatorship, and trusts. The court may appoint a guardian for a minor or someone incapacitated. A conservator may be appointed to manage the assets of someone who is unable to do so themselves. A trust is an arrangement where one person holds legal title to the property for the benefit of another.
Overall, the probate process is often costly, lengthy, and complex. It can involve additional taxes and creditors’ claims and can lead to disputes among family members. Furthermore, the details of the estate are available to the public. For these reasons, many people seek to avoid the probate process by using trusts and other estate planning strategies.
Is Probate Required if There Is a Will in Place?
In most cases, yes. Probate is a legal process required when a person dies with a valid will. It involves the validation of the will, the collection and distribution of the deceased’s assets, and the payment of any debts owed. During this time, the court will likely appoint an executor or administrator to oversee the process.
The Roles of Executors and Admins in Probate
The executor or executrix of a probate estate is the person or institution appointed by the court to execute the deceased’s will and manage the probate estate. The executor is responsible for gathering the estate’s assets, paying any debts and taxes, and distributing the estate’s assets according to the terms of the will.
Administrators or administrators are appointed by the court if the deceased did not name an executor in their will or if the executor is unable or unwilling to serve. The administrator is responsible for the same duties as the executor but must also obtain a bond and file an inventory of the estate’s assets.
In some cases, the court may appoint both an executor and an administrator to manage the estate. This is known as a co-executor or co-administrator. The court may also appoint a probate attorney or accountant to serve as an advisor to the executor or administrator.
What Happens if the Will is Contested?
Sometimes, a will is not enough to prevent an estate from going into probate. If a will is contested in probate, the court will hold a hearing to determine whether or not the will is valid. The court will consider evidence from both sides, including witness testimony, and make a ruling.
If the court finds that the will is valid, it will be admitted to probate, and the estate will be administered according to the wishes of the deceased. If the court finds that the will is invalid, then the estate will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy.
How Can I Avoid Probate?
When an estate enters into probate, it can cause a lot of stress, frustration, and financial difficulty for the deceased’s family. Probate can take months or even years to complete, and during that time, the estate is tied up in legal proceedings. It can also be expensive, with court fees, legal fees, and other costs associated with the process.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid probate. Here are some of the most common ways to do so:
Establish a Living Trust
A living trust is a legal entity that allows you to specify how you want your assets to be distributed after your death. It allows you to avoid probate by transferring ownership of your assets to the trust.
Use Payable on Death Accounts
With a payable on death (POD) account, you can transfer ownership of your bank accounts, stocks, and bonds to a designated beneficiary upon death. The beneficiary will receive the money or assets without going through probate.
Name Beneficiaries on Your Retirement Accounts
Many retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and IRAs, allow you to name a beneficiary who will receive the assets after your death. This will allow the assets to pass directly to the beneficiary without going through probate.
Transfer Ownership of Assets to Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship
If you own any real estate or other assets with another person, you can transfer ownership to joint tenants with the right of survivorship. This means that when one person dies, the other person automatically becomes the sole owner of the asset without it having to go through probate.
Give Away Assets During Your Lifetime
If you want to ensure that certain assets go to certain people after your death, you can give them away while you are still alive. This will ensure that the assets pass directly to the people you want to receive them without going through probate.
Get Experienced Probate Help From King Law in Waynesville
After the death of a loved one, the probate process can be confusing and overwhelming. King Law can provide experienced and compassionate help navigating the probate process. Our experienced probate lawyers in Waynesville can assist with the preparation and filing of petitions, represent clients in court, provide advice on the administration of the estate, and help with the distribution of assets.
We are committed to helping families in the probate process and ensuring that the deceased’s wishes are honored. Contact us at (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING today for experienced help in the probate process. You can also fill out our contact form.
Frequently Asked Questions About Family Divorce in Waynesville, North Carolina
How long does it take to get divorced in Waynesville, North Carolina?
North Carolina divorce is based on separation for one year. Unlike other states, the separation begins the day the parties actually separate. Isolated instances of reunification or encounters do not restart the one year of separation if the parties do not hold themselves out as being married. After the year of separation, the parties may then file for divorce. Divorce is filed as a typical lawsuit, but an order can be entered by the Clerk of Court under specific circumstances.
What steps should I take if I’m served with divorce papers?
There are only a couple of legal defenses to divorce, most surround the issue of time of separation. However, it is vital that when you are served with divorce papers you have a family law attorney review the documents. Failure to have a claim for equitable property distribution or alimony can mean that those issues are lost forever if not claimed with or prior to the divorce.
What do I need to do and know before going through a divorce in Waynesville, North Carolina?
Before going through a divorce, anyone needs to understand the ramification of: (1) child custody, (2) child support, (3) property distribution, (4) alimony and spousal support, and (5) potential third party claims. This is a division of everything of the parties and should never be done lightly. Issues of anger, guilt, and avoidance all are part of the emotional aspects of divorce. When issues like narcissism, borderline personalities, and domestic violence are part of many divorces, it may take other professionals to deal with this time as well.