The process of settling an estate after the death of a loved one is not always easy. In addition to the grief that a family is navigating during this time, those left behind will likely have the obligation of handling remaining assets, as well as settling final affairs. The legal aspects of estate administration, particularly those pertaining to probate, can be difficult to understand. Probate is the legal process of verifying a will and closing remaining matters on behalf of the deceased.
There are many requirements and potential complications associated with closing a New Jersey estate, and you may find it beneficial to avoid navigating this on your own. Setbacks can occur, and there can be unexpected complications, even in the most straightforward of situations. These things can cost you time and money, and they can lead to a significant amount of stress for all involved.
What to expect from probate
In most cases, probate is a requirement for settling an estate. This is the legal process of verifying a will and other steps that will need to be complete before it is possible to distribute assets according to the terms of the estate plan. While most assets have to go through probate, one exception to this is assets held in a trust. The following are the common steps during probate:
- Location of the will and filing it with the local probate court
- Finding, securing and valuing assets owned by the estate
- Notification of creditors and those with a claim to the estate
- Payment of remaining debts and final tax returns
- Distribution of assets according to the terms of the will
Probate can be a relatively straightforward process, but it can take months to complete, even if there are no complications. In situations where there are disputes over the terms of the will or other problems, probate can take years to finalize.
Help at every step is critical
Each estate is different, and the requirements you will have to navigate depend on the details of the individual situation, the size of the estate, location of assets and more. Regardless, it is an immense responsibility to administer an estate, and it can be beneficial to have guidance at every step. You may find that you have greater peace of mind, as well as assurance that you are avoiding preventable setbacks and issues along the way, when you have professional assistance.