Probate law is a law that governs the distribution of a person’s property after their death. Another way to view it is, as the process a will goes through to determine its validity and begin the distribution process to the heirs.
What Is the Probate Process?
The probate process involves the filing of a court request to look into the validity of a will. The inquest is filed by the executor. This is a person who has been given the mandate over the assets of the deceased by the will. In cases where there was no will, intestacy law states that the court will appoint an administrator to oversee the distribution of the assets either to family and in their absence to the state.
How Does Probate Law Work in Taunton, MA?
Probate laws work in two ways depending on the presence or absence of a will.
In the Presence of a Will
In this case, the court first seeks to ensure the validity of the will. This includes ensuring all living heirs and relatives are made aware of it. It may also, in some cases, involve a local announcement via press to ensure that all creditors are able to stake claim if any.
The proceedings of probate law are open to the public. If there is a contest over the will, proof of its validity must be made. If there is none, the court may direct payment of all taxes and debts owed by the deceased’s estate. Once this is done, the executor may then take charge of whatever is left and ensure the instructions in the will are followed to the latter.
In the presence of a contest and failure of proof of authenticity, the court may then follow the inheritance laws and grant ownership of the estate to the spouse. In absence of a spouse, the children will then be sole heirs. In the absence of all the kinship options, the assets will then be transferred to the state.
In the Absence of a Will
In the absence of a will, the court will appoint an administrator who will oversee the inheritance process and the payment of creditors.
Do All Wills Undergo Probate?
In most states, all wills are amenable to probate law. There are however certain options in the estate planning process that may bypass the need for probate.