Probate is the process of passing one’s assets to family members (also called beneficiaries). Distribution of an individual’s assets may occur in one of two ways (intestate and testate succession). Intestate succession occurs when an individual passes away without a last will and testament in place at their death. If a person passes away intestate, the court makes all of the decisions with regard to that person’s estate. That means your wishes may not be followed and unintended beneficiaries may become titleholders of your assets rather than intended beneficiaries. Testate succession occurs when an individual passes away with a last will and testament designating who shall administer the estate and which beneficiaries should receive the assets. You have freely made choices during your lifetime, why stop at your death.

There are two kinds of probate administration processes. These include formal probate administration and summary probate administration. It is best to plan your estate so that the personal representative (or executor) does not have to probate your assets at all. However, at the very least, you should set up your planning so that your personal representative will only have to use summary probate administration and/or determination of homestead.

The first process is a simpler process called summary probate administration. Summary probate administration can be utilized if a person’s probate estate (assets owned in the deceased person’s name at death) does not exceed $75,000 and/or does not consist of assets other than homestead property (which has its own procedure for succession). This process requires limited court supervision and significantly less formalities.

The second process is a more complex and traditional process called formal probate administration. This is necessary for estates with probate assets exceeding $75,000. Formal probate administration requires significant court supervision and should be avoided if at all possible.

Contact the Attorneys of The Noble Law Firm, P.A. to assist you with minimizing your probate assets or assist with the probate administration of a loved one who has recently passed away.

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