Tri-Cities Probate Law Attorneys

What is Probate Law?

Probate is a legal process that deals with the administration and distribution of a deceased person's property and payment of a deceased person's debts. The probate process ensures that the will is valid and that property and assets are distributed based on the deceased person's wishes. 

How A Probate Lawyer Can Help

Our law firm provides full legal services regarding probate actions. We represent personal representatives (the party named by the court to administer the estate) and estate beneficiaries. Probate services that we offer include:

  • Collecting and distributing life insurance proceeds
  • Property appraisal
  • Finding and securing all of the decedent's assets
  • Advising on how to pay the decedent's bill and debts
  • Preparing and filing documents required by probate court
  • Managing the estate's checkbook
  • Determining whether any estate taxes are owed
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What if There is No Will?

If a person dies without a will, that person has died "intestate." Intestate means that your estate will be subject to the intestacy laws of whatever state your property resides in, regardless of your wishes. For instance, if you have a surviving spouse, they will receive your entire estate, regardless of your wishes.

In these cases, a probate lawyer can be hired to assist the administrator of the estate in distributing the assets according to the law. The probate lawyer helps with some of the same tasks as when there is a will, but they are bound by state intestacy laws, regardless of the decedent's wishes or the needs of their family members.

It is possible for a relative to become the estate's administrator. To do so, they must obtain renunciations from the decedent's other relatives, which are statements renouncing one's right to administer the estate. A probate attorney can help obtain these documents and file them with the probate court.

Common Questions About Probate Law

How long does the probate process take?

The length of the probate process depends largely on how the will was set up. Generally, you can expect the entire process to take six to nine months.

What assets are subject to the probate process?

There are three types of assets that generally do not have to go through probate: 

  • Property that is jointly owned
  • Assets with a clear designated beneficiary
  • Assets that are in a trust

Not sure how to handle your deceased loved one's estate? We can help.

Jan R. Armstrong, Arthur D. Klym, and Randy L. Jameson Jr. have decades of combined experience in probate law. Ask us anything here or better yet schedule a free consultation!