The Law Offices of Jeffrey G. Marsocci, PLLC logo - Estate planning attorney is Raleigh and Asheville, NC
The Plain English Attorney

The loss of a loved one can be devastating. Even when people believe they are prepared, they are often still caught off guard on the numerous, practical, and expected duties that fall to the family members, including the many legal formalities surrounding a probate estate. When people think about leaving their possessions and money to loved ones, they often are not thinking about the complicated legal, court process known as probate.

What exactly is probate?

Simply put, probate is the court process of retitling assets from a deceased person’s name into the name of the proper beneficiaries. While it may seem that the process should be fairly straightforward, nothing is further from the truth. The specific documentation and precise order of actions needed, as well as the multiple filings of applications to courts; contacting banks, creditors and other financial institutions; locating heirs; and handling estate sales make the process complex and convoluted.

There are often assets that supposedly avoid the probate process because they are held as “joint with a right of survivorship,” or they have a “pay on death” beneficiary designation listed on them. However, these items require just as much documentation as the probate assets just to show they are not to be counted as part of probate. Not exactly “avoiding” the probate process now, is it?

During a time of grief after losing a loved one, those closest to the deceased person want to take action. However, before the Pandora’s Box of red tape is opened by filing something with the clerk, we recommend that the entire probate process be turned over to an attorney who can act as the executor or administrator, making probate easy, and saving people from additional stress and grief long after their loved one has passed.

If you have any questions or would like our firm to assist you with probate or other estate planning needs, please contact our office at (919) 844-7993.

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