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5 Tips to make Probate easier

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Adam Taub
5 Tips to make Probate easier

When a person dies with minimum to no estate planning, their loved ones have to suffer the consequences. The absence of an estate plan is commonplace with premature deaths because people rarely consider the repercussions of their demise while they are young and perfectly healthy. The majority of the U.S population that does consider investing in an estate plan does not usually sign up for anything beyond a Last Will & Testament. The last will can override intestacy, but it alone cannot prevent probate.

Comprehensive estate planning is the best way to avoid the time-consuming, stressful, and costly probate procedure. However, if the decedent did not get the chance to do that, their successors have to deal with the challenges of probate. If the deceased appointed you as the Executor of Will, it is up to you to make probate easier for all beneficiaries. Below are five tips to speed up the probate process and minimize the overall hassle:

1. Hire an Experienced Probate Attorney

If this is your first time dealing with probate, you are likely to underestimate how nerve-wracking it can be. You might assume that everything will fall into place on its own or that you will figure it out along the way. If you are the designated executor of will, you might be tempted to navigate the process on your own. Regardless of the good intentions, going through probate without the assistance of a professional is a bad idea. You are prone to make mistakes, cause delays, waste money, and get frustrated. Probate Attorney in Edmond, OK, can provide proper guidance and effective solutions for any problems you encounter during probate.

2. Inform all Creditors immediately

As the executor of will or direct heir, it is your duty to notify the creditors of the deceased. Sooner or later, they will find out about the death and come forward to claim what is owed to them. Probate may extend to several months and debt collectors are permitted to claim their share while it is ongoing. The later they arrive to contest the estate, the more they prolong the proceedings. Therefore, it is in your best interests to track all creditors and inform them as soon as possible. This way they will be compensated quickly and the probate will conclude sooner.

3. Obtain an Appraised Inventory

Since the executor of will is in charge of managing the estate, paying off debt, and transferring property to beneficiaries, it makes sense to enlist all the deceased’s assets and evaluate their economic value. The deceased’s assets include all kind of belongings, including real estate, automobiles, family heirlooms, bank accounts, and valuable collectibles. In some cases, a portion or the entire estate might need to be liquidated in order to make up for outstanding debt.

4. Maintain Accurate Records

The allowed time period for contesting an estate varies by state. The executor is supposed to prepare necessary documents and the final report. Readying everything in a timely manner and double-checking it for possible errors expedites the closing of the estate. Probate can indeed be confusing and painful, but the intervention of a qualified probate attorney helps streamline the process and alleviate its burdens.

5. Never miss Deadlines

When it comes to filing probate paperwork, it is important to acknowledge that there are specified deadlines for it. Missing these dates will impose more court hearings and ultimately delay the completion of probate. This also means additional expenses and increased tension of dealing with more potential contenders or surprise debt collectors. 

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Adam Taub
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