When a person dies, their property has to be legally transferred from their ownership to a living beneficiary, as a dead person can’t own any property. This legal transfer of ownership is accomplished through the probate process. And not only his property but also his debts are paid through this process under the supervision of the court. And the lawyers responsible for walking personal representatives and beneficiaries through the entire process of how to settle the final affairs of a deceased person are probate lawyers or Estate Planning Attorneys.
Process of Estate Planning
The probate process of an estate depends on where the deceased lived and also other places where he might have owned property. Estate laws differ from place to place so Estate Planning Attorney has to be familiar with laws of the state. And the process also differs based on whether the deceased has a last will or not.
Without these scenarios, they can be also hired to advise beneficiaries of an estate on legal matters when the beneficiaries do not trust the personal representative. Some lawyers called estate and trust litigators specialize in lawsuits related to the estate when a beneficiary challenges the last will of the deceased through a will contest.
In the probating process, first, the lawyer look for the last will then he opens the estate with the court and the lawyer will be appointed as executor. His first job will be to locate and identify the decedent’s assets and if necessary he can freeze his bank accounts and take physical possession of any valuable things.
The next step is to value its assets and pay his debts, taxes and final bills. Then the remaining balance is distributed among the beneficiaries. If needed, he also assists with the sale of estate property.
Estate Laws On Different States
As the probate process is controlled by state law it differs from state to state. Like in California and Ohio probate process is complex which is much simple in Texas.
In many cities in Texas like San Antonio, the Houston probate process happens like told earlier. Just like the cities of Texas Probate Attorney San Antonio also does not need to go through those complex steps like in other states.
However, 20 states have adopted the Uniform Probate Code which was created to streamline the probate process, simplify estate and probate administration and to make it less expensive across states.