A will is a legal document that explains your wishes as to how your assets will be divided up upon your death. All wills have to go through a probate process before they are considered in effect.
What is the Probate Process?
The probate process is the legal process through the court systems where the courts ensure that the will is legal and binding after you die. Part of probate involves ensuring that all of your debts are paid off. Once your debts are paid off, the remainder of your assets will be distributed according to the instruction in your will. If you do not have a will, the laws in your state will dictate how your assets will be divided. The laws of your state will dictate how complicated the probate process will be, the value and type of assets that you have, and if anyone contests anything in your will.
Probate processes have been used for many years in Alexandria. This process was created to protect the deceased’s creditors, family and assets by having an orderly method in which the bills of the deceased will be paid, and the assets will be split under the direction and supervision of the court system.
Why is Probate Mandatory?
Many people wonder why they cannot appoint someone to pay their bills and distribute their assets after they die without the involvement of the probate court. Is that not what an executor does?
The main reason for this has to do with ownership laws. If your name is listed on the title of your asset and you pass away, the legally the only way to have your name removed and another’s put on the title is through the court system.
A will does not have enough authority to retitle assets or release balances in accounts. The only way this can happen is with a court order. After you pass away, neither the executor of your will nor your family will be able to change who is listed on the title without a court order done through probate court.
Additionally, the probate court in Alexandria must validate that the will is authentic. An authentic will have the correct signatures, and no other newer wills have been created. Once the court system authenticates the will, any asset can be transferred to the deceased’s heirs.
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Misha Gill is an Alexandria estate planning attorney for his firm, Speedwell Law, PLLC. If you would like assistance in setting up your own will, living trust, and other estate planning documents, Misha can be reached at (703) 553-2577 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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