When a loved one dies, it is one of the most difficult times in a family’s life. Not only are they dealing with this loss, but now they also have to think about what happens to those people’s belongings, property and other items. One of the best ways to have this outlined is to have a will drawn up before death. However, what happens when a person passes away unexpectedly? There may not be a will available to designate what happens to the property, assets or liabilities. This is where a LA Probate Law can help. You will want to locate or be referred to a probate lawyer that understands probate law and how to complete probate on the estate of the deceased even if there is now will. There will be some questions of course; especially the more property, assets and liabilities are present. The more information that you, as the family representative, are able to provide to your lawyer the better. There are several things that will be expected to be taken care of when filing a probate estate. You will need to provide a certificate of death, social security number and any documents that are available, especially if they are for taxes.
Filing without a Will
There are very specific ways for a family to file probate without the presence of a will. Your LA Probate Law will show you that you must file probate with the court system and follow the rules designated by your state if there is not will to designate the separation of assets, liabilities or property. The family must also file taxes if there is not a spouse. Each state has specific laws on how to handle probate in the even that there is no will. A lawyer that is licensed in the state in which the deceased resided will be able to steer you in the right direction. There could be cases where the property or other items be split between the next family members in line, however some family members may decline to have these out into their possession.
Who is the Executor?
If there is no will present, and no appointed executor of the will, then often times the law firm will go to court to have an executor appointed. The executor (called a personal representative in some states) is the person named in a will or appointed by a court to wind up the person's financial affairs after death. Basically, that means taking care of property, paying bills and taxes, and seeing to it that assets are transferred to their new rightful owners. If probate court proceedings are required, as they often are, the executor must handle them or hire a lawyer to do it. An executor is entrusted with responsibility for winding up someone's earthly affairs -- a big or little task, depending on the situation. Essentially, an executor is charged with protecting a deceased person's property until all debts and taxes have been paid, and seeing that what's left is transferred to the people who are entitled to it. Your Executor can be a person (or persons) such as a relative, beneficiary under your Last Will, a lawyer or even a bank - the choice is yours. It is also possible to appoint one or more Executors under your Last Will. Where more than one Executor is appointed, these Co-Executors can act separately (each one with full authority) or they can be required to act jointly in which case both (or all if there is more than two) executors must agree to a course of action before taking that action.
How to move forward
You will likely need to open a bank account in the name of the estate in order to start collecting assets and making payments on debt. One thing to note is if the deceased has made any burial plans and how this will be paid. If there has been no arrangements made for burial, you will want to ensure that the estate gets underway immediately and if no beneficiary is noted on bank accounts, have the lawyers prepare to have the estate pay for the burial. Once the estate is underway, you will continue to receive mail in the deceased name. It will be your or the executors responsibility to go through this mail and determine if anything needs immediate attention. You will want to contact any credit card companies to make them aware of the death. This will help to secure the personal and financial identity of the deceased. Some companies may require proof of death, such as a death certificate. It may be wise to order several extra copies of the certificate depending on the types of companies that you are notifying. Once you have a better grasp of the financial aspect of the estate your lawyer will be able to go to the court and make sure that everything is in order. This process, LA Probate Law, can take quite a while to complete in its entirety. You will also need to stay in close contact with the lawyer you have picked to ensure that all the documents, especially for financial and real estate property is filed correctly. Staying in close contact with all mortgage companies and debt companies is essential to a smooth probate. Notify your council of any changes or mail that you receive concerning assists, property or liabilities named in the estate.