Janice T. Jackson can help you through the legal process of necessary actions following the death of a loved one.  Probate is the statutory procedure, governed by laws passed by the legislature for closing out a person’s affairs after death and effectuating their wishes defined in a will.  The probate procedure may not be required when the decease has sought to plan for estate matters prior to death.  An “executor” and “administrator” may be designated in a Will or the Court may appoint such persons who are expected to work with an attorney to accomplish an accounting of property, debts and assets and to determine what property must go through probate, and what property will not be required to pass through the  probate process.

Life insurance, retirement accounts, some bank accounts (checking and savings) generally do not   go through probate if beneficiaries have been named.  A Living trusts may be expensive to establish but may save your heirs significant expense.

Having a will may not avoid the probate process but is helpful in determining how your estate is to be distributed, the courts will still have to determine its validity and pay any outstanding debts from the estate.  If all terms of the will are valid and in order, the process moves much more quickly.  Probate is a part of the public record, which means that others may gain information regarding the value of the estate and how it is distributed.  In many cases, these are simply unavoidable aggravations and not a major problem for you.  Some files may be sealed from public view if the parties would be specifically harmed by public access.  Call for an appointment to discuss methods of avoiding probate.

Even a will can be contested when there is reason to believe it was not property executed and, therefore, invalid.  The person creating the will may have been incompetent to sign the will; or wrongfully influenced into signing it; the could be fraudulent; and, the challenger may be able to prove the executor is not acting in the best interest of the estate.