The probate process is a process that happens after virtually every death. While the probate process is supposed to be a good thing by providing a chance to wind up the affairs of the estate in an orderly fashion, the reality is there are downsides to the probate process. If your loved one has passed away, there is a good chance you will have no choice but to deal with the probate process and all of its downsides.
Kinghorn Law provides assistance with the probate process to families and friends who must go through this confusing and lengthy legal proceeding following the death of a loved one. Our Tucson attorneys help executors fulfill their role during probate, assist in estate planning to avoid probate, and provide representation to those who wish to contest a will during the probate process. Give us a call at (520) 529-4000 to talk with a Tucson probate lawyer for personalized advice and to get answers to questions you may have including:
- What is the probate process?
- Who should have a probate lawyer during the probate process?
- How can a Tuscon probate lawyer help you?
What is the Probate Process?
The probate process takes place in probate court following a death. It is a process during which the affairs of a deceased person (decedent) are settled. The process is also used to make certain the wishes of the deceased are respected and to ensure that claims are made and taxes paid. Finally, it is a process used to ensure that appropriate people inherit and to facilitate the actual change in formal ownership which must occur following a death.
During the probate process, there are many different things which must occur. An accounting of all of the assets in the probate estate is necessary to determine what the deceased owned which must be passed on. An assessment is made regarding whether there is a valid will. If there is no will, a determination is made on who will inherit according to Arizona intestacy law. Creditors also get a chance to assert their claim on estate assets, and those who do not believe the will is an accurate reflection of the wishes of the deceased are given a chance to have their say.
Unfortunately, the probate process is going to be a complicated, costly, and lengthy process after most deaths. The process can stretch on for several months, leaving heirs or beneficiaries waiting for an inheritance. Strict rules apply to when and how paperwork must be submitted to the court and submitted to taxing authorities during the probate process. All of this can be very overwhelming for families, which is why some people to facilitate asset transfers outside of probate by making an estate plan. If the probate process does have to occur following a death, an experienced estate planning lawyer should be involved.
Who Should Have a Probate Lawyer During the Probate Process?
The person who has the most responsibility during the probate process is called the executor of an estate. The executor has something called a fiduciary duty, which is the highest duty that one person can owe another. It is the same duty lawyers owe to clients.
Executors are named in the will and appointed by the court, and have to oversee and manage every aspect of the probate process. They have to do things like take care of the decedent’s property, file for probate with the court, and determine what claims against the estate are valid.
Due to the myriad complex responsibilities an executor has, an executor of an estate should consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible after discovering they have been named as an executor.
Heirs or beneficiaries don’t have as many formal responsibilities during the probate process, but it is their inheritance on the line so it makes a lot of sense for them to try to secure legal representation as well. Finally, for any individual who wishes to contest a will, having an experienced attorney is absolutely essential to understand how to do this process.
How can a Tucson Probate Lawyer Help You?
Kinghorn Law provides representation to the executor of an estate, as well as to heirs or beneficiaries who are going through the probate process. We also provide representation during will contests. Give us a call at (520) 529-4000 or contact us online to speak with a Tucson probate lawyer to find out more about how we can help you.