Testamentary Probate is the last component of probate and is divided into two distinct categories; Testamentary and Non-Testamentary Probate. A Testamentary Probate case is a probate matter in which the assets of the decedent are distributed. Any debts of the decedent must be paid before distribution. Assets must be distributed according to the directions of the testator and to avoid any conflict of interest amongst heirs. Click here for more information about probate.
Probate is one of the most difficult aspects of estate planning and administration. While no one wants to think about death, probate often becomes an unpleasant reality. Those who can best handle the situation are those who are closest to the decedent such as a spouse, adult child or other close relatives. This often increases the stress associated with probate and can interfere with the wishes of the testator regarding some of the most important issues in the life of the decedent. If you are considering probate, you should seek the advice of a probate attorney at the very start.
Probate involves the appointment of an administrator to handle the affairs of the estate and report to the court on the estate. Persons appointed to this position must follow specific guidelines established by the court in order to conduct themselves properly. They must take an oath to preserve confidentiality of all information and must not divulge any confidential information to anyone. There are strict rules regarding how property will be distributed. These rules and regulations are designed to prevent the stacking of wealth and to assure that there is fair distribution of property to all beneficiaries.
While the specifics of how probate works vary from state to state, the general process typically follows the same general guidelines. A last will is prepared and filed with the courts. This will outline the specifics of the decedent’s property and financial holdings. Testamentary documents may be needed to identify who will control properties upon the death of the decedent or when his or her estate is dispersed. Once the will is filed, the court will order a memorial funeral or cremation, estate settlement, or distribution of the decedent’s estate.
The probate court will order the estate distribution and will also determine the amount and reason for the distribution. This could involve a will or a trust. Assets may be sold or transferred, the property secured by mortgages and promissory notes may be paid off, or the property held in the name of a trust may be transferred.
Final distribution of the probate estate may occur a number of months after the decedent’s death. This is referred to as the probate retention. If no will is filed, the court may appoint an administrator and finalize the distribution. The court will notify all beneficiaries of the decision and provide notice as required by law.