Dealing with the passing of a loved one is always hard. It is an emotional time as it understandably should be. But there is practical work to do and if you are reading this page that work may have fallen on your shoulders. What does one do, for example, with all the ‘stuff’ your loved one left behind? Divide it up among surviving children, if no spouse? Give it away? Dump it?
This is when a loved one’s Will or Trust takes over. That document will tell you what to do with all the ‘stuff’ including bank accounts, investments, real estate and personal property.
The process of handling the distribution of the ‘stuff’ (referred to by lawyers as “assets”) is called “probate”. It is a court involved system which ensures that all the bills of the loved one are paid before distributions of the remaining assets are made to heirs (or devisees). There are forms to fill out, proper notices to be given and, usually, court appearances to be made. If a person dies with or without a Will, probate, more often than not, is still necessary. A number of people are under the mistaken impression that if a loved one has a Will, there is no need to go through probate. This is not true. Only having “probatable” assets under $50,000 makes that possible (talk to a lawyer regarding what this means). Also, if a loved one dies having left a Revocable Living Trust probate is typically avoided (but the Trustee still has obligations and duties to heirs pursuant to the Trust).
Attorney Joseph Field has been assisting families in situations similar to yours for over two decades. Sometimes things do not go as smoothly as we would like—especially when it comes to dividing up an estate. ‘Will contests’, while rare, are permitted anytime some interested party thinks the loved one’s Will was written while under the ‘undue influence’ of another or the loved was too mentally incompetent to know what he or she was doing when signing the Will. These are real possibilities, ones where Field Law, P.A. has been involved in litigation on both sides.
If you were named as a “personal representative” or “executor” in a Will, you may now be asking “what do I do next?” At Field Law, P.A. we can provide those answers. You are now the leading and primary decision maker for the loved one’s estate. One of your first actions is to open a probate. Before doing that you should inquire with a knowledgeable and experienced probate attorney. Our Firm understands how challenging this process may seem. We are here to help you with it. But rest assured, taking no action is not an option. That’s a sure way to draw fire from those expected to inherit from the estate or from creditors. You need to take action.
If the loved one resided or had property in Anoka County, Sherburne County, Isanti County, Wright County, Hennepin County or in the surrounding areas, upon his or her death, contact Field Law, P.A. to get the help you need. (763) 427-9066. We are ready to give you the advice you need or guide you as your legal representative from beginning to end.