The death of a loved one is difficult for everyone in the family, but a death without a will can be traumatic and difficult depending on the circumstances. When a person dies without a will, it’s considered dying intestate.
The state determines how the deceased property is distributed according to the probate laws of that state. If there are little assets and no family disagreements, then the process is easy. If not, then it can be long and expensive.
We created this article to provide help when dealing with a family death without a will. These five tips help you get started with the probate process.
1. If There Is a Death Without a Will, Contact a Lawyer
There are experts in estate and probate that help you begin the process of asset distribution. The first step in the process is determining an executor of the estate. This is usually the spouse or an adult child.
Anyone interested in becoming executor petitions the court and the court decides who it should be. Probate attorneys help you if multiple people are vying for the executor.
2. Expect Family Turmoil
A will is a legal document that determines where the deceased wants their assets distributed. While all cases go to probate, having a will decreases the time because the court knows what the deceased wants.
There is no deliberating or discussion unless someone decides to oppose the will. If your brother wanted your deceased mom’s jewelry, but she left it to you, then he’s out of luck. If a parent died without a will, then it’s all up for grabs.
Family members may fight for specific items or property, which causes problems with the family. The ultimate decision comes from the probate court.
3. Learn to be Patient
A will speeds up the process of probate because there is little disagreement or confusion about where the assets go. No will after death means everything takes longer in the probate court.
There may be delays with the selling property as probate seeks out creditors and more. It’s best to be patient and let the court do its job. Don’t hassle the court or your attorney as it will not impact their decisions.
4. It Could Be Costly
The more assets a person has, such as a small business, the more costly the probate cause if there is not a will. The court’s time and your lawyer’s time aren’t free. It fees add up the longer the case goes on and if there are grievances between family members.
The cost of the court proceedings and the lawyer’s fees add up to thousands of dollars. This is taken from the estate and thus decreases the overall amount given to the descendants.
5. Lay Out What You Want
If there are specific items you want from the deceased, then write them down and provide them to the lawyer. The court considers this with its findings. If the distribution of what you want is fair and there are no objections, then you have a higher chance of getting it.
Prepare for Probate Court
When there is death without a will, the consequences can devastate a family. It’s best to be prepared for probate court and educate everyone possibly earning something from the estate.
If you want to learn more about probate court, then please explore our site.