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Probate and Estate Administration

Upon the death of a loved one, it is often frustrating for families to deal with the legal issues involved in settling the decedent's affairs. Probate and estate administration does not have to be an intimidating and confusing process. The experienced lawyers at Crislip, Philip and Royal law firm will help you process the details of your probate proceedings.

Probate settles the estate of a deceased individual. This process takes anywhere from four to 12 months. If a person dies with a will, probate serves to certify the validity of a will by admitting it to probate. When a person dies without a will (intestate), state statutes provide for the distribution of the property of the deceased. Whether or not there is a will, probate is the process of settling the affairs of the estate (a deceased individual) before distributing property to the beneficiaries.

In either situation, there are a number of responsibilities for the personal representative, including:

  • Conducting an inventory of all the estate property
  • Notifying any creditor of the estate
  • Paying off any claims/debts of the deceased
  • Notifying any heir or beneficiary of the estate
  • Distributing the estate property in accordance of the will or statute
  • Management of assets of the estate
  • Filing gift, inheritance and income taxes for the estate.

Other issues involving estate administration include:

  • Spousal rights - a surviving spouse can elect not to take under the will or distribution statutes and elect to take under other statutory rights
  • Pre-nuptial agreements
  • Will contest
  • Undue influence
  • Duress
  • Fraud

These may involve litigation and could lengthen the probate process.

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