The death of a loved one can be a very emotional time. Immediately after the death, family members and other loved ones are concerned with making arrangements and other more pressing issues. Dealing with the deceased's estate is also something that must be done in the weeks and months after their death. In many cases, much of the deceased's assets go through probate. Probate is the process by which the deceased's last will and testament are authenticated and the assets divided up. This process can be a hassle, especially when dividing up property and real estate. Here are three tips for dealing with a loved one's property after their deaths.
Hire An Attorney
When going through the probate process, a probate attorney is a must. Probate laws can differ from state to state, and an attorney can help you navigate through this process. The cost of a probate attorney can vary depending on whether they charge by the hour, a flat fee, or a percentage of the estate. Hourly rates tend to be between $150 and $200 an hour while attorneys who charge a percentage of the state tend to charge less than 4 percent. Flat fees vary depending on the services needed.
Check Ownership Of The Property
When it comes to property, there are a few things that can be done to ensure that it avoids probate. One way that many avoid probate is by ensuring that the property is jointly owned, usually by a spouse or other family member. In these cases, the property will be transferred to the other owner. After a loved one dies, it's important to determine if any of their properties is held jointly. This can make the probate process a little easier and quicker. A living trust can also keep property out of probate as well.
Stay Up To Date With Bills And Taxes
Immediately following a loved one's death, it can be difficult to think of the estate. However, it's important to stay organized and ensure that bills and taxes are still being paid. Failure to take care of these things can be a major headache down the line when dividing up the property. Any property that is not put in a trust or is jointly owned will then be transferred to probate. If there is a will, the property will go to the designated heir. If there is no will, the property will be divided depending on state laws.
Dealing with the property of a deceased loved one can be difficult. A probate attorney can help deal with the estate and help during the probate process. In some cases, the property will automatically transfer over to a joint owner. In other cases, the property must go through probate before being transferred. Staying up to date with bills and taxes during this time is a must since probate can take up to a year and in some cases longer.
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