Probating a will can be as complex as the initial creation of a will. As an estate attorney, there are many steps we can help you take to ensure that a decedent's assets are properly valued, allocated and dispersed. The first step we can help you with is inventory and appraisal.
Even if a will was not created by the decedent, all of their assets that are to be probated must be first identified and then valued, which includes investments, cash, collections of items, jewelry, cars, computers, real property and other personal belongings. This can be a difficult and daunting task to do by yourself. You may need special appraisers for items such as property, antiques and jewelry. In some cases, a court might appoint an appraiser; however, we can help you with this.
For real property owned by the decedent, the deeds must be reviewed to ensure there is no joint ownership or liens on the property. Personal property covers a variety of items including collections such as coins, records, antiques; promissory notes, deeds of trust and stocks, as well as many other things. These items must all be valued after they are identified.
There are some assets that are not usually included in probate. These items are things that already have beneficiaries designated, such as insurance policies, retirement accounts, property that passes automatically on to the surviving spouse, certificates of deposit and others. All policies and items must be reviewed for their beneficiary designations and not assumed.
An appraisal and valuation form is usually completed for both real and personal property and then must be filed with the court. There is a certain time frame in which the documents are to be filed, and a specific order in which the documents are usually laid out.
We are familiar with probating a decedent's will or assets, and also in litigating when there are claims made against the assets. We can provide advice, resolutions or help you with any of your estate or estate probate issues.