Probate Court Matters
Many people think of probate as a dirty word, and a process to be avoided at all costs. However, this is not always the case. There are times when court oversight is beneficial, especially if you suspect your will may be challenged, your family members do not get along, or you own personal property of substantial value to be passed on that is not titled with a named beneficiary ahead of time.
To avoid probate, assets must either be titled in the name of a Trust, or they must name specific beneficiaries to receive them after you pass away. Typical assets not subject to probate are life insurance policies, annuities, real estate held jointly with rights of survivorship or with a transfer on death deed, transfer on death vehicles, and payable on death bank accounts, bonds, or stock certificates.
We generally represent the executor or administrator of the estate. We can help you decide whether probate is necessary for your loved one’s estate, prepare and file all the necessary paperwork, notify interested parties, represent you at any required hearings, and advise you on the handling of creditors.
Sometimes guardianships are necessary when a person becomes incapacitated and cannot manage their own affairs, but has not left previous instructions through a power of attorney. Guardians can be named for the person, to care for medical needs and daily needs of living, or for the estate, to manage the person’s financial affairs. Guardianships can be set up for incompetent adults or for minor children. We can help you apply for guardianship through the probate court, represent you at hearings, prepare annual accountings, and decide the appropriate use of assets.