Although not many people want to plan for their death, it can be very beneficial to create an estate plan. An estate plan allows an individual to plan for what happens after their life is over. A large part of administering an estate after an individual’s death is the process of probate. Probate establishes whether or not a person’s will is a valid document. In addition to this, the process also determines the value of their assets and any outstanding debts or taxes to be paid.
When an individual in Alabama passes away, there is a chance they created an estate plan that must go through probate. It is important to enlist an experienced attorney if you are handling the estate administration process.
Filing a Will to Probate
When an estate plan is created, the individual usually appoints an executor to handle the administrative duties. In order to begin this process, the executor must file the deceased’s will in the Surrogate Court within the county they lived. Doing so requires them to provide the court with the death certificate, the probate petition, and any other necessary documents. When the will is filed, any beneficiaries of the estate will receive notice of where the probate will occur.
The process of probate is to establish whether or not an individual’s will is a valid document. When someone creates a will, there are guidelines that must be followed in order for it to be considered legal. The guidelines state that the trustor must sign the will in the presence of witnesses while they are of sound mind and have not been coerced into doing so. If these requirements are not met, the will may be invalid and not pass the probate process. If the Surrogate’s Court determines the will as valid, the administration process can move forward.
Closing an Estate
After a will passes probate, the executor may begin the rest of their responsibilities. This may include they pay off any outstanding debts or taxes, resolve any contests to the will, and distribute all assets to their rightful beneficiaries. When the court is shown that the executor completed their job, the process may end and the estate can be closed.
Contact our Firm
If you have been assigned as an executor and are required to take care of an estate, contact the Law Offices of Stone Crosby, P.C. today.
Stone Crosby, P.C. has proudly served clients in Alabama for over 100 years. Our firm has experience handling matters including divorce and family law, estate planning and administration, business law, employment law, class actions, consumer protection, business law, real estate law, among many others. If you require quality legal representation, contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.