Will contests arise when a beneficiary or other party under the Will contests the Will for various reasons. Some of these reasons include, but are not limited to, the following: undue influence when the writer executed the Will; poor handling of the estate by the Exeuctor/trix, the competency of the person when they executed the will or improper execution under the statutes.
What is the probate process?
Probate is the process by which a deceased person’s property, known as the “estate” is passed to his or her heirs and legatees (people named in the will). The entire process, supervised by the probate court, usually takes about a year. However, there may be substantial distributions made in the interim.
The word “probate” means many things. Once a Will is signed and legally binding it is the Last Will and Testament of an individual. Nest and more important “probate” describes the assets that pass by will or intestacy (without a will). Probating the Will describes the entire process of administering assets, paying off debts, selling and garnering assets, filing tax returns and distributing the proceeds to a beneficiary.
What property is subject to the probate process?
The probate estate includes all property held in the decedent’s name. Certain types of property, such as propertly that is jointly onwe by the deceased and another person such as life insurance, and property held in trust, are not part of the probeate extate and not subject to the probate process. The non-probate proepery is, however, prt of the decedent’s taxable estate.
How do you begin the process started?
1. A petition for probate of the will must be filed with the Probate Court together with the original will and a certified copy of the death certificate.
2.Notice must be mailed to all of the decedent’s heirs at law (usually the surviving spouse, children, and children of any deceased children)
To those named as beneficiaries in the will, and if a charity is involved or there are no heirs, to the Attorney General.
What does the Executor do?
The executor is responsible for collecting the probate property and for paying any debts of the estate. The executor must file an estate tax return within nine months of the date of death. This is true even if no estate tax is owed, if the decedent owned real estate or the executor wants his or her final accounting allowed by the probate court. Creditors for the estate have one year from the date of death to bring claims against the estate. Executors generally wait until this claim period has expired to complete distribution of the estate according to the terms of the will.
Call us at 908-206-9366 for additional information or to schedule a consultation.