The legal processes following a person’s death can be lengthy and complicated. In most situations, a person’s estate must go through probate where a court validates a will, appoints an executor, and oversees the payment of debts and the distribution of property.
However, clever estate planning can help minimize the impact of probate. This includes expediting the probate process, minimizing the potential tax liabilities, and even avoiding it altogether.
A Manhattan probate lawyer could help individuals looking to take greater control of their estates after death. A seasoned attorney in the area could also help guide executors through the probate process and ensure that they meet their duties under the law.
What is the Purpose of Probate?
It may seem like common sense that an individual should be free to do what they want with their property after death. Indeed, many forms of estate planning, such as wills, provide strict instructions for this process.
Unfortunately, this process is not quite as straightforward. Probate exists for two main purposes. The first is to ensure that a decedent’s will, or other testamentary documents are genuine. For example, interested parties may contest whether a will meets the form requirements under Kansas Statute § 59-606.
The second purpose is to oversee the payment of debts and the distribution of property to the heirs. To further this goal, a court will appoint an executor who has the obligation to perform this role. An individual may nominate an executor in their will, or the court may appoint a person or organization to carry out these duties. A well-practiced lawyer in the area could provide more information about the probate process and potential legal complications that may arise.
Steps to Simplify the Probate Process
As discussed above, the probate process can be complicated and lengthy. Even if a party submits a will to the court days after a person’s death, it may take weeks or months for the distribution of property to begin. Naturally, individuals may wish to shorten the probate process or eliminate it altogether.
One way to accomplish this is to only own property in tandem with another person. This is most common for people who are married. In these situations, that property will pass directly to the other owner upon one’s death.
It is also possible to limit the impact of probate through the use of alternative estate plans. If a party transfers property to the care of another through the use of a trust, for example, that property transfers at the designated time with no interference from the court. While it is possible that a party may contest the authenticity of a trust document, this is generally not an issue that arises during probate. A Manhattan attorney may be able to help parties take steps that limit the impact of the probate process on their estate after their passing.
Contact a Manhattan Probate Attorney Today to Get Started
Proper estate planning is key to providing a better future for your heirs. One thing that concerns many people is the role that probate will play after their death. While probate can be complicated and lengthy, there are steps that can be taken to minimize its impact or avoid it entirely.
A Manhattan probate lawyer could explain the role of probate and what will happen during the process. They could also assist executors to fulfill their roles during probate or to craft estate plans that limit probate’s length or complexity. To learn more, call our office today.