Probate is the court-supervised process that takes place following an individual’s death to administer and distribute the decedent’s estate. With or without a will in place, the probate court oversees the identification of estate assets, their valuation, payment of taxes and creditors, and ultimate distribution to beneficiaries. Our team at Upton & Hatfield, LLP works with families and non-related individuals throughout the probate process.
The probate process can be confusing because of the many deadlines, forms, and the mandatory electronic filing procedure. During the process, obstacles can arise, such as a problem with the way an asset is titled, an unknown heir, or an individual who contests the will. Will contests are not uncommon if individuals believe that the wishes expressed in the will were not the decedent’s wishes and was influenced by someone else. Working with an experienced attorney can help you navigate the probate process and, when it arises, testamentary trust administration.
Our team can help you understand what to expect. We’ll stay in communication at all times to answer any questions and concerns you may have.
How Does Probate Work?
These are the steps that occur during the probate process:
- Authentication of the decedent’s last will and testament in court-supervised proceedings
- Petition to the court for estate administration and appointment of executor
- If no will exists, an administrator will be appointed, and the estate will be administered in accordance with the law of intestacy, but the probate process is the same as when a will exists.
- Inventory and appraisal of all assets (money, property, bank accounts, real estate, etc.).
- Publication of notice of the death for creditor purposes
- Bonding of the executor or administrator
- Inventory of the decedent’s probate estate
- Payment of the decedent’s debts
- Preparation, filing and payment of taxes for the final year of the decedent’s life, as well as any income earned on estate assets after death, sale of real estate, and other assets
- Payment of the expenses of estate administration
- Distribution of the estate to beneficiaries or intestate heirs
- Filing final documentation with the court
The complexities of administering a probate estate are best handled with the assistance of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney and paralegals who walk individuals through the process with efficiency and sensitivity to the loss of a loved one.
Our New Hampshire lawyers help with all aspects of probate. We’ll deal with creditors, inventory assets, file necessary paperwork, and bring the estate to a close. Let us help you and your family when it matters most.