If someone passes away without having a will, their estate will need to go through the probate process to ensure that the estate is divided fairly. However, the probate process can easily become complicated if the following things happen.
Issues With Nobody Wanting To Be The Executor
The probate process cannot happen unless someone is named as the executor of the estate. This is the person responsible for carrying out many actions that need to be done, such as distributing all of the assets and dealing with any debts that are outstanding. The court will name someone as the executor of the estate, but they may decline the role because they do not want to deal with it. This process will continue until someone accepts the role of the executor, which will slow down the entire probate process.
Even if the person who passed away had a will, the person they identified as the executor could still decline the role for whatever reason they want. Nobody is forced to take the role, but not doing so will cause the process to be stalled until that position is filled.
Issues With Creating An Asset Inventory
There will need to be a complete inventory of the person's assets in order to use them to pay off debts and divide amongst the heirs. Unfortunately, creating that inventory is a lot harder than you think. A lot of investigating must be done to ensure that you have found everything that belonged to the person that passed away. For example, if you miss a bank account that the person had, you may end up selling off assets to pay debts rather than use cash. The cash assets will then need to be divided later, which will cause more decisions to be made about how to distribute it.
Issues With Not Using A Lawyer
The executor may think they can save the estate money by not using a lawyer for the probate process. This is an area where it helps to have a professional guide them through the entire probate process. Chances are that the executor has never gone through probate before, which means they are unfamiliar with everything that needs to be done and the laws that must be followed. Having a lawyer will cost money, but it will make the process so much easier by having somebody that can tell you what to do and answer questions you have as they come up.
If you have questions about your situation, reach out to a resource like the Law Offices of Wayne A. Pederson.
Hello, I'm Christina Miller. Have you ever been fascinated with why the law works the way it does? Ever since I was in junior high, I had an intense interest in anything related to our legal system, whether it be a crime drama on television, a judge show or a legal case covered on the news. I followed it all. As time progressed, I began learning about how the actual legal system worked and not just the fictionalized version of our legal system. This has lead me to start writing my own blog posts about law that I hope will help others.