Who Is Involved in the Probate Process?
The probate court will usually appoint a person, called a fiduciary, to handle the deceased person’s estate. What type of fiduciary is appointed depends on a number of factors. Consider these four types of fiduciaries for reference:
- Executor – a fiduciary who is named in the decedent’s will
- Administrator – a fiduciary who is appointed by the court in the absence of a will
- Guardian – a fiduciary appointed to handle the finances that belonged to a minor
- Curator – a fiduciary who is chosen when someone who doesn’t think they can manage their own finances asks the court to appoint someone else to handle them
If you have been named the fiduciary of your loved one's estate, or if you disagree with the appointment of someone else as a fiduciary, we encourage you to contact our law firm and set up a free case evaluation.
Is Probate Avoidable?
Some people incorrectly assume that the presence of a will is enough and does not necessitate probate. On the contrary, a will doesn’t help you avoid probate unless the estate in question is valued at less than $15,000. Still, having a will in place does tend to drastically simplify the probate process.
Outside of the "less than $15,000" estate rule, the best way to avoid probate is to establish a trust in lieu of a will. However, if your loved one left a will or no estate plan at all, probate is most likely unavoidable.
Should You Involve a Lawyer in the Probate Process?
Having a loved one pass away is already a difficult time for you and the whole family. Emotions are high, and having to deal with the probate process can add to your stress and anxiety. A seasoned probate attorney can not only answer your questions, but they can take the lead on your case so that you don't have to carry what feels like the weight of the world on your shoulders.
Whether you were appointed a fiduciary and looking for legal assistance or are a concerned family member looking to contest or oppose a will, we are here to help.