You may be wondering if you’ll need to go through the probate process. It’s one of the most common questions people have when a loved one passes away. Probate laws differ by state, so it’s important to discuss your unique circumstances with a reputable estate planning attorney. However, here are some of the top reasons for probate court to help you determine if it’s necessary in your case.
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An Invalid Will
Probate court is necessary whenever a will is deemed invalid, but there are various reasons for why this occurs, such as the following examples…
- Mental Incompetence: The deceased wasn’t mentally competent when the will was drafted, calling the document into question.
- Improper Execution: The will was either unclear or not made legal.
- Undue Influence: There’s speculation that the deceased was under duress when the will was revised or created.
If there isn’t a will, the probate court is needed to sort out the deceased’s belongings. It’s a legal process to distribute assets and transfer titles of property. Unfortunately, there’s no other way to accomplish this.
It’s common for beneficiaries to be named. For example, on retirement funds, or life insurance policies. However, if none were designated, or they’ve since died, probate is required.
When assets are owned solely by the deceased individual, probate court is generally required to transfer property to a beneficiary’s name.
Tenant in Common or Joint Tenancy
Another reason probate may be necessary is if assets were owned as either a tenant in common, or a joint tenancy. What this simply means is that the deceased owned property with someone, like in a common law marriage.
Our Probate Court Services
If any of these common reasons for probate apply to your personal situation, we can help. Or, for more information about probate and how to avoid it, please contact Lewman Law at (925) 447-1250.