The word probate strikes dread into the hearts of most people that have recently lost a loved one. The process is usually time-consuming, emotionally stressful for the bereaved, and comes with costly probate fees. As a result, most Elizabethtown, KY residents try to avoid probate.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to avoid probate, especially if your deceased loved one’s estate plan did not contain avoidance provisions. If a family member has recently died and you are dreading probate, knowing what will happen during this process may ease your anxiety.
What are the steps required to complete probate?
Probate laws in Kentucky and elsewhere require several basic steps to complete the process. These steps include the following:
- Locating property. In this step, the deceased’s assets are found and inventoried to get an accurate total value of the estate.
- Paying debts. The person in charge of administering the estate must pay any debts and taxes associated with the deceased and the estate.
- Settling disputes. If one or more heirs contest a will or other estate document, the administrator must settle this dispute before continuing to the next step.
- Distributing property. The administrator will distribute the remaining assets to the estate beneficiaries after paying probate fees and debts. The will should contain detailed instructions regarding the distribution of these assets among heirs.
Although simplified for the blog post format, the steps above can help you understand how probate will unfold and what to expect during and after the process. If you need to learn more, consider seeking assistance from a lawyer. In many cases, an experienced attorney can guide you through probate and help you settle the entire estate faster than you would have managed without legal guidance.