FAQ – Probate Court

What should I expect at Probate Court?
State law dictates how your loved one’s debts, funeral expenses, and property are settled. If there is a Will, the Court process will determine whether the Will is enforceable, and how to implement the instructions it provides. If there is no Will, the estate is governed by laws of “intestate succession.” An estate attorney helps ensure that all procedures are properly followed.

Who becomes the Executor or Conservator?
If there is a Will, an Executor is usually listed to act as the estate’s representative during probate. If there is no Will, the Court must appoint someone to act as Administrator. The Executor or Administrator serve the same basic functions, but each operates within somewhat different guidelines for property distribution.

Similarly, when your loved one needs assistance managing either his or her health care needs, or financial needs, the Court appoints the person it believes to be the most qualified, provided the evidence before the court indicates that the person needs assistance in one or both of these areas.

What if I don’t agree with the Executor/Administrator?
If you are an heir, and do not agree with the person seeking to become Administrator, or you have concerns about how the estate is being managed by the person who was already appointed as Executor or Administrator, you are encouraged to consult a lawyer about your rights. There are options available to help you to address legitimate concerns about whether your loved one’s estate is being handled properly.

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