After a loved one dies, you certainly know that many tasks will need attention. However, you may find yourself among numerous other Woodland Hills residents who feel some confusion when it comes to settling the estate of a deceased individual. Though certain terms may seem familiar to you, knowing how to apply those terms and what the processes associated with them entail could seem like foreign concepts.
In particular, probate could have you feeling a bit anxious due to your lack of information on the process. Luckily, these proceedings do not have to cause you undue stress and can help ensure that your loved one's estate closes properly.
Addressing the will
With any luck, your loved one will have created a last will and testament that details at least some of his or her wishes for the estate. During the probate process, the executor of the estate -- who the will should name -- takes the document to the court. The court will then examine the will in order to ensure its validity. When determining authenticity, the court will look at the document's signatures, including those of both the creator of the will and the necessary witnesses, and make sure that it meets all other requirements.
After the court establishes the validity of the will, the probate process can move forward with the administration of the estate. If your loved one named you as executor of the estate, you will have many tasks to handle during this part of the proceedings. You will need to inventory the decedent's assets, obtain necessary appraisals, inform relatives and creditors of the death and ensure that a public notice goes out to inform any other parties of the situation.
Another fact about probate relates to its transparency. Wills go into the public record after creation, and the probate process has a public nature as well. Therefore, any individuals who believe that they may have some stake in the estate could come forward with claims, interests or concerns. The public nature of this process may also help quell some unwarranted claims to the estate as the details of the will could provide needed information regarding assets and other matters.
If you have concerns regarding your role as executor and how to successfully complete the probate process, you may wish to find out more information. Utilizing local legal resources could help you better understand your role and duties and what to potentially expect as you work to settle your loved one's estate.