When a person dies, their family must settle their estate for them. While this is easier for the family if the person left a will, there are situations when there is no will. If your loved one did not leave a will and died unexpectedly, you will have to go through extra steps to settle their estate. Here are the main steps you must take in this event.
1. Visit a Lawyer
The first thing you will need to do is to hire a lawyer. The type of lawyer you will need is one that offers estate planning services. When you select a lawyer, you are hiring them to assist you with the process. You should always choose a lawyer you trust. It is also important to choose one with experience handling estates when the person did not leave a will.
2. File a Petition with the Probate Court
Once you meet with the lawyer, they will begin the case by filing a petition with the probate court. Probate court is a special type of court that handles estate issues. When a person does not leave a will, the probate court plays a significant role in settling the estate. One of the responsibilities of the probate court is to ensure that the family handles the estate properly. Another role of probate is to assist with the transfer of assets.
If you are the person meeting with the probate attorney, you will likely be the person asking the court to appoint you the executor of the case. The executor is the person responsible for making decisions and settling all the matters of the estate.
3. Work Through the Matters
If the court appoints you as the executor, you will have to gather information about your loved one's finances. You will need to find out what assets they had, as well as the debts. You might have to close bank accounts for your loved one and hire an estate sale company to assist with selling the assets from the estate. You will be responsible for all these things, and your lawyer will be there to walk you through the steps. Your lawyer will also handle all the legal activities related to the estate.
Settling an estate without a will is more challenging than when a person leaves a will. If you are in this position and need help, hire a probate attorney for help.
When you are faced with a serious legal matter, it only makes sense to work with an attorney who has the skillset to help. Attorneys are specially trained to manage everything from courtroom appearances to issues with paperwork, which is why you should have one on hand for when you are faced with an emergency. The purpose of this blog is to make it easier to understand when you should call a lawyer and how they can help. Read more on this blog to sort out everything you need to know to improve your legal prowess every single day, preventing problems.