Understanding Probate and Wills

Some individuals have the misunderstanding that if they die and they have a will that things will automatically fall into place in that their property will go to their spouse or children. But, it is not always this simple.

When any person dies, whether they had a will or not, their stuff have to go through a probate court first before they are handed over to the person mentioned in the will. Probate is proving to the court that the deceased person owned the possessions listed in his will.

Just because one has written in his will that person A will get a certain property does not mean that after they die, that person A will get the property immediately. First, they have to prove in the probate court that the deceased owned the property. The actual verification of the ownership is done by an executor who could be named in the will or an Administrator whom the court appoints in case there is no written will. See more on Fort McMurray lawyer for wills and estates here.

The administrator or executor files the documents with the probate courts showing the legal titles and whether all loans or liens have been paid on the possessions named. After proving in court that the deceased owned all that was included in his will, then the court examines the will for instructions on how to distribute the possessions.

There is no need to probate the estate of the deceased person if it is small. The estate dollar amount will change according to the state and also with time. For instance, in California, the limit is set at $150,000.

The public can read the probate records. To avoid such disclosure of your possessions, most people who have considerable assets opt to set up a revocable living trust where they transfer most of what they own. This helps in keeping the details of their assets private especially if they have a significant influence on society or they are celebrities.

Property set-up trusts do not have to go through probate courts as they already have 'proven title' to the property of the estate. Such trusts can help in keeping the estate from the scrutiny of the public of a very private feature.

People who have put their assets in the name of trusts might also have a will for anything which may have escaped their minds. Revocable living trusts are not separate legal entities from trustees because people own the assets included in the trust. This implies that such assets can be assessed by creditors if need be.

Probate and wills are complex things. You will need a probate and wills lawyer to help you out with all the legal jargon involved. Read more on Stony Plain divorce lawyer here.