3 Things You Should Know About Probate

"Probate" refers to the process of filing and proving up a deceased individual's will and distributing his or her assets to the surviving heirs. If there is no will, it is the process of opening an estate and distributing assets according to Missouri statute.   The probate process can be time-consuming and technical. If you have recently had a family member pass away, hiring a probate attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks may help to simplify the process.

O'Donnell Law Center is here to help with all of your probate needs. This week, we wanted to share with you a few things we believe you should know about probate.

1.  Your Personal Representative Will Be In Charge Of Handling Your Estate.
Since you won't be present to handle the necessary steps required to close out your affairs after you pass, your personal representative will have to step in and handle these tasks for you. If you have a properly executed will, you will have named a personal representative in your estate planning documents. If you pass away without a will, the court will appoint someone on your behalf. The court may also need to appoint someone if the person you named is unable to fulfill the responsibilities for any reason and you did not identify a back-up representative. 

Your personal representative will be in charge of paying any debts, taxes, and/or other expenses that must be paid out of your estate first, and then distributing any remaining assets among your heirs.

2.  Having An Estate Plan Does Not Necessarily Prevent Your Estate From Going Through Probate.
Because probate is time-consuming, your heirs may have to wait several months (or even years) before receiving your assets after you pass if your estate must go through probate. Not only that, but the assets you leave behind may be somewhat depleted after covering all the probate costs. Consequently, it is often desirable to prepare an estate plan so that you can avoid probate altogether. However, many people do not realize that having a simple will in place does not necessarily prevent their estates from going through probate. It is possible to build an estate plan that may not need to spend a significant amount of time in probate after you pass, but you will need an experienced estate planning attorney in Camden County MO to help you.

3.  If Your Estate Plan Is Out-Dated, Your Estate May Need To Go Through Probate.
Some people view estate plans as things they can simply check off their lists once completed. While it's true that a fresh estate plan may not require much attention for the first few years, it's important to realize that estate plans are not "one and done" documents. Your financial situation, your marital status, and your familial relationships are all subject to change, and depending on any changes that do occur, the directives you set in your estate plan today may not be applicable a few years down the road.

Depending on how out-of-date your estate plan is, your situation may still need to go through the probate process.  To avoid this, review your plan every couple of years with your estate planning attorney.

Contact Our Estate Planning Attorney For More Information..
The team at O'Donnell Law Center is here to take the burden off of your shoulders. Our estate planning team has experience probating wills and probating estates when there is no will. We can also assist with trust administration and establishing guardianships and conservatorships. Contact our Center to learn more about our estate planning services at the Lake of the Ozarks!

We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.

Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065


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