The only way a Will becomes valid is by proving it in court by having a judge declare it a “valid” Last Will and Testament. If you believe you are entitled to inherit under a Will, or if you have been named the Personal Representative or Executor in a Will, then you will need a probate attorney Memphis, TN routinely trusts to help you.
In most states, a division of state court called “Probate Court” handles the administration of Wills and Estates. The administration process begins when someone dies with assets. In order to transfer the assets of the deceased person, the heirs or beneficiaries under the Will have to open a “Probate Estate.”
Probate Cases “Without a Will” and “With a Will”
Generally, there are two kinds of Probate cases. If someone dies without a Will, the Estate is “intestate,” and the distribution of assets will be governed under applicable state law. If a person dies with a valid Last Will and Testament, the deceased person is deemed to have died “testate,” and the distribution of assets will be governed by the terms of the Will.
What to do if you are named the Personal Representative or Executor in a Will
If you’ve been named as the Personal Representative or Executor under a Will, you need to hire a Probate Lawyer. In most states, the administration of a deceased person’s estate must be done with the assistance of a licensed attorney. In most cases, the attorney fees charged by the lawyer will typically come out of the funds of the Estate, not from your own personal assets.
Once you’ve hired a lawyer, you’ll meet with the lawyer, gather all pertinent information regarding the Estate, and the attorney will file the appropriate documentation to petition the Probate Court to admit the Will. You will likely be required to appear in court with the attorney to prove the Will and be officially appointed by the judge as the Personal Representative of the Estate. The attorney will address the judge and you will be asked certain questions about the deceased person and the Will. The Probate Court judge will then review the Will and the proof and decide whether or not to admit it for probate. If the Will is admitted, you, as the Personal Representative, will then be sworn in as a fiduciary by the Probate Court. You will next be issued “Letters Testamentary” or “Letters of Administration” which will allow you to legally conduct business on behalf of the Estate. Once the Estate has been opened and you have been appointed the Personal Representative, the attorney you hired will help you in completing the remaining steps in the Probate process.
If you need help admitting a Will to the probate court, or have questions about a Will or the probate process, contact the trusted probate attorney.
Thanks to our friends and contributors at Wiseman Bray PLLC who have significant experience in Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning.