Handling Creditors: Should You Obtain Legal Help With Your Loved One's Estate?
If a deceased family member's last will and testament leaves you in charge of their estate, the responsibilities placed in your care may quickly overwhelm you. Unless your loved one established a living trust before they passed away, their estate will go through a court-administered process called probate. The probate process may require you to do many things, including paying off your loved one's creditors. To get through probate, you'll need legal help.
When an individual passes away, their estate goes through probate. Probate ensures that your loved one's last will and testament is legally sound. Probate also ensures that the individual's finances, assets, and other valuables are properly calculated and distributed to pay off debts, taxes, and other financial obligations. The estate's heirs, or beneficiaries, receive what's left over from the probate process.
Although it's possible for you to handle the probate process yourself, you may find the process stressful over time. Some of your stress may come from dealing with the deceased individual's creditors. Creditors can pursue payment for anything your family member owed before death, including car and house loans.
Creditors can use the probate court system to place or establish claims on your loved one's estate. The claims may keep you from moving forward with the rest of the estate, such as selling property or filing your loved one's final taxes. But you can avoid these taxing issues by obtaining legal help.
How Do You Pay Off the Estate's Debts?
You can ease your stress by allowing a probate attorney to work on your loved one's estate. A probate attorney will compile a list of your beloved family member's assets, property, and banking accounts. A lawyer can also obtain a list of your loved one's creditors. Once an attorney has the pertinent documents they need, they'll pay off the creditors.
An attorney will generally help you file your loved one's final taxes at the end of the year. If your family member owed taxes on their property or income, a probate lawyer can help you pay the debts. If you don't repay or report your loved one's tax obligations, there may be consequences from the state and federal level. There may be holds on the deceased individual's estate, or you may be responsible for their tax obligations as a beneficiary of the estate.
If you have any questions regarding the probate process or how to take care of your loved one's creditors, contact an attorney as soon as possible. For more information, check out websites like http://valentineandvalentine.com.