The Probate Process

The Probate Process

What is probate?

How are assets liquidated and distributed? Who is the executor? What are the legal ramifications? In this article we will answer these questions about the probate process with a focus on how to deal with the inherited property.

Probate is the official action taken to fulfill a will. The executor is the person named by the deceased to execute the details of the will. This is a hard process for most people as the executor is usually someone who knows the deceased and is in emotional distress from the recent loss. The executor oversees: dividing up the liquid assets (accounts, cash, checks), possible sale and division or inheriting of the estate, possible sale and division or inheriting of larger assets (cars, boats, etc.), as well as other tasks as assigned in the will.

The probate can also be a legal instrument used to enforce the will. This means that if needed the executor can divide the will through the courts and the will can be contested. The executor has legal power to dispose of the assets unless contested.

After gaining control of the assets the executor uses the will in conjunction with the financial institution to gain control of the account of the testator (the deceased) to divide that as the will commands. After which the accounts can be zeroed out and closed to prevent fraud in the testator’s name. Any highly liquid assets (mature stocks, retirement accounts, things easily sold and converted to cash) are usually converted to cash and divided as the will states.

Properties are more complicated, it involves legal issues of having the courts involved in the oversight of the estate and sale. Many look to avoid the process by creating a living will. A living will in some states can circumvent the process. If the property is under a certain dollar amount as well the process can sometimes be avoided. In California, you may sell or dispose of a $100,000 or less property without taking it through the probate process.

Why avoid probate?

The probate process usually takes extra time and money out of what is left for the surviving parties. This is why some people have a living trust, which helps avoid probate in some states and some situations. In the living trust there is a trustee who serves the same role as an executor. However a trustee can be multiple family members if need be.

Other large assets such as cars, boats, investments, businesses are also divided according to the will, or living trust if applicable.

If you or someone you know is having difficulty dealing with a property because of the probate process, a will or living trust, and you live in the Portland, OR area, give us a call at 503 376 6060 to reach Dynamic Real Estate Innovations. Dynamic can help deal with all real estate problems with creative solutions and straight forward solutions.

We also buy houses any condition, any location. Here at Dynamic Real Estate are also happy to just talk people through the process if the only help they need is advice, totally free of charge. (We are not lawyers, and will not give legal advice)

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