Blasingame Burch Garrard Ashley PC
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Probate

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Specializing Attorneys

Beaird
Probate

Probate is a procedure whereby the assets contained in a decedent's probate estate are transferred to his or her beneficiaries following death. In the event that a decedent dies without a will, his or her estate is said to be "administered" rather than probated, although the procedures are essentially the same. Probate requires that a probate petition be prepared by the personal representative of the estate and served upon the heirs of the decedent, who are not necessarily the will beneficiaries. Once an estate has been admitted to probate, the personal representative can proceed with transferring the assets to the beneficiaries of the will.

Only items that are contained in the decedent's probate estate are subject to the probate process, however. Assets that are included in the decedent's probate estate typically include individually owned bank accounts, stocks, real estate and personal property. Recently, fewer assets tend to be included in the decedent's probate estate. For instance, many assets such as individual retirement accounts, 40lK plans, life insurance, revocable trust interests, property held by joint tenants with rights of survivorship and bank accounts with payable upon death beneficiary designations are often not included in the decedent's probate estate and will pass outside of the will.

In the event the estate of the decedent (both probate and non-probate assets) exceeds his or her unified credit equivalent amount (currently $2 million), an estate tax return may be due. In some cases, it may make sense to engage in post-death estate planning as part of the probate process, such as disclaimers of interests passing under the will. Additionally, an estate income tax return may also be required in the event that an estate earns income during the administration of the estate.

The probate process can be confusing for someone who is not well-versed in its nuances. Accordingly, we at Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley would be more than happy to help you through the process.

 
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