Probate is the formal process used by the courts after a person passes away. Through probate, the court will determine how a deceased’s assets will be distributed, including any property they owned at the time of their death.
Though, the court will not set up an estate on its own initiative. Instead, someone must file a petition and seek to have the court begin the probate process. This is true whether or not a person has a will when they pass away. An experienced probate attorney could provide further guidance on the process of opening an estate in probate in Junction City.
How Probate Works in Junction City
The court will largely oversee the probate process from start to finish. Once the petition for probate is filed, it is the responsibility of the court to name an executor. Most of the time, a person’s will names an executor to handle the estate. However, when there is no known will, or the appointed person is unable to serve, the court will select someone as the administrator. The administrator is often a family member of the deceased, but that is not a requirement under Kansas state law.
There are numerous steps the executor must take when opening an estate in probate in Junction City. They must notify all of the heirs as well as the creditors about the proceedings. They must also collect and inventory all of the assets to determine how much there is to distribute.
Before any of the property can be distributed, the executor must resolve any taxes and debts. This could involve paying creditors what they are owed or rejecting their claim on a variety of grounds. Once this step is complete, it is time to distribute the assets to the heirs and close out the probate case.
Special Rules for Small Estates
There are times when formal probate proceedings are not necessary. According to Kansas state law, there is a simplified probate process that can be used to avoid formal proceedings. This process is only available in limited situations. Specifically, the decedent must leave minor children or a surviving spouse. The estate must also be made up of only personal property that does not exceed a certain dollar amount. Any estate that meets these requirements could avoid probate.
It is Possible to Avoid Probate
While it is helpful to understand how to open an estate in probate in Junction City, it is worth noting that avoiding probate entirely might be a possibility. This is a useful option, as it allows the heirs of the estate to avoid the negative factors that often come with the probate court.
Going through probate can be time-consuming. It can take months to file the will, have the court appoint an administrator, collect assets, and fulfill all the other obligations that go with probating a will. Probate can also be costly. The entire process is complex and usually requires extensive legal help from a seasoned legal professional. By avoiding probate, it could be possible to resolve the estate for a fraction of the cost.
Reach out to an Attorney about Opening an Estate in Probate in Junction City
Opening and administering a probate estate is a complicated process. Thankfully, you are under no obligation to undertake this process by yourself. The right legal counsel could help you ensure you open and administer the estate as required by law. Let a dedicated lawyer advise you on the proper steps to take when opening an estate in probate in Junction City. Call today.