The probate process has a reputation of being lengthy and intimidating. The probate court has a duty under the law to oversee the proper administration of a decedent’s estate, so one could see why such a large undertaking could be prolonged in nature.
Although the probate process may seem intimidating, it is possible for you to help retain control over this process and ensure that your assets go to where you want after your death. It is also important for heirs and potential heirs to understand their rights under the law and to stand up for those rights in court.
A Junction City probate lawyer may be able to help in both these scenarios. A seasoned attorney could explain the probate process, help draft wills that control the experience, and work with parties to protect their rights during probate.
Probate is a natural legal process that occurs whenever a person dies. The role of the probate court is to determine whether a person died with a will, to oversee the administration of that will, and to hear disputes concerning a decedent’s estate.
Probate begins when an authorized party petitions the court to open a proceeding. According to Kansas Statutes § 59-2221, any interested party has the ability to file a petition with the court. An interested party is one who is named in the will as an heir or a party who would stand to inherit assets if a will does not exist.
Once the court receives the petition, it will act to authenticate the will, appoint an administrator, and ensure that the administrator performs their duties in accordance with the law. An experienced attorney in Junction City could explain the rules and general probate process.
In most situations, the probate process moves forward with little controversy. However, with many estates containing hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in value, heirs must be sure to protect their interests.
One common concern that may arise in the probate process involves the legitimacy of a will. The probate court will presume that a will containing the proper signatures is legitimate. However, any interested party may allege that a will is invalid due to fraud, duress, or lack of testamentary capacity. In these situations, a well-versed Junction City probate attorney could help to argue either side of the issue.
Another common issue that may arise during probate concerns the actions of the executor or administrator of the estate. These individuals have a legal duty to pay the estate’s debts, distribute the remaining property according to the terms of the will, and act in the estate’s best interests. An administrator who fails in this obligation may face censure from the court as well as be civilly liable to the members of the estate. A credible probate attorney in Junction City could assist executors in performing their roles as well as represent the interests of heirs who believe that malfeasance has occurred.
It is essential to be prepared to stand up for your rights during the probate process. This may include delivering a will to the court, contesting the legitimacy of testamentary documents, and ensuring that executors of estates perform their duties in accordance with the law.
A dedicated attorney could work with you to explain the relevant laws, take the lead in submitting documentation to the court, and make the necessary arguments to protect your legal rights. Give a Junction City probate attorney a call today to schedule a consultation.