Probate obstacles can start with being able to locate and notify all “persons interested.” Everyone must be notified before the probate can begin. An investigation and special hearing would have to take place in order to have a probate move forward if not everyone has been made aware.
“Persons interested” are the people named in a will as beneficiaries, and the Personal Representative. But, the persons interested also include all people who would inherit if there were no will (according to the law of intestate succession). This means that even if a will was left that said “Everything goes to my sister Laura,” interested persons would include all of the people who would inherit if there were no will. This could be parents and all other siblings including any unknown half-siblings from a father who disappeared when the decedent was a small child. It could also include nieces, nephews and cousins.
As you can see, when families are not close, or when a person is very old and the last surviving sibling, it is often difficult to trace a family tree and locate a missing interested person.
Another obstacle people may face in probate is the fact that the courts are located in the county seats. This can mean travel for some people who find travel difficult. Sometimes people are intimidated by going to the court in order to file documents or to figure out which documents need to be filed, etc.
A third barrier in the probate process is knowledge barrier. People need to know about the taxing of estates, court procedures, court processes and the probate process in order to make this happen smoothly. As many people go through probate only once in their lifetime for a loved one, they don’t have time to spend learning all of these particular pieces of knowledge that they need to know.
Lastly, is the fact that people who are dealing with these matters are probably not their best after they have lost a loved one. Sometimes they don’t have the patience or the time to deal with the intricacies involved in the probate process.
What Actually Happens During The Probate Process?
The probate process can proceed differently in each case, but here is a general idea: The first step is to notify the court that someone has passed away (the Petition for Administration). You then go through a process where you publish a notice to see if there are any people that think the deceased owed any money. A list of all their property called the inventory is then produced and filed with the court and following that, any debts or disputes of any debts are addressed and dealt with. Lastly in the probate process is the distribution of all assets to the people who are named in the will. If there is not a will then everything is distributed to those who are due according to the state law.
Finally, there is an accounting done to show where everything went. In the left column, the inventory amount is listed, and then all income, and whether there is any interest or gains. On the right column go the expenses and distributions. You subtract out the expenses, creditor’s claims that were paid, attorney’s fees, the Personal Representative’s fees and the distributions to the beneficiaries. The end result should show a zero balance so that there is nothing left in the estate.
The accounting must be distributed to the interested parties to see if there are objections. If none, the estate can be closed.
How Long Does A Typical Probate Case Take To Resolve?
A typical probate takes approximately one year. However, the office of Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC has handled cases that have taken as little as six months. It really all depends on the cooperation of the Personal Representative and the ability to get all of the assets collected, sold and distributed. Disputes can also cause delay.
What Is The Role Of An Attorney In The Probate Process?
The role of an attorney can be different depending on who they represent. Normally Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC represents the Personal Representative. Their goal is to keep the Personal Representative on track. The attorney fills out all the paperwork and makes sure that it is accurate according to what the facts are, such as who the family is and the proper numbers for the inventory and the accounting. They guide the Personal Representative through the probate and often when there is a will contest or disputes in the case or if the estate needs to sue someone that owed money to the deceased person, then the attorney acts as an advocate in the court.
Whenever the estate is represented by someone who is not a family member, say a bank trust company, an attorney is also necessary to represent that Personal Representative in court and to fill out the paperwork as well.
When an experienced person is the Personal Representative, an attorney is not always necessary. However, the attorneys at Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC find that these cases always go smoother when there is an experienced estate planning lawyer involved.
What Sets You Apart In Handling Probate Matters?
One thing that set Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC apart from other law firms is the amount of time they have spent handling probate matters. They have been handling probates since 2000. Not only do their attorneys focus on preparing people for what comes after they become deceased, additionally they have the experience in administering estates after people die. It’s a fairly focused practice and they have people in their firm that know the court commissioners by name. Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC can make things go well for a probate case whereas other firms may not be as experienced.
The law firm of Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC also gets probates done faster than the average with often quite a bit less in fees at the end because of the way that they utilize efficient processes and also use experienced (but less expensive) paralegals versus attorneys for doing a lot of the probate work that has to be done.
For more information on Obstacles In Probate Process, a free initial consultation is your next best step. The estate lawyers of Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC practice law in the areas of Probate, Wills, Estate Planning, and Trusts. We assist clients in and around Madison, Wisconsin with all matters related to estate planning, trusts, and probate matters. Our dedicated attorneys will even make house calls if you are unable to come to our office.
Contact our office by calling (608) 268-5751 to schedule a free consultation or use our online contact form.