Millions of Americans carry debt, and many people will pass away owing at least some money. This could be in the form of a mortgage, credit card debts, personal loans or other types of liabilities.
Serving as the personal representative of an estate is a major responsibility. And despite the fact that it often involves complex legal and financial elements, the people who often serve as a personal representative are not people with legal or financial backgrounds. Instead, they are often loved ones who were close to the decedent and understood his or her wishes.
After a loved one passes away, the probate process begins. This can be a highly complicated and emotionally-wrought experience, especially when people are still coping with grief and loss, so it is important to have a basic understanding of what to expect.
On this blog, we have talked about what happens during probate when a person passes away with a will in place. However, not everyone has a will.
There is an old saying that you can't choose your family. In the context of estate planning, however, you can choose the family to whom you leave your assets. For some people, this might include choosing to leave someone out of a will so that he or she does not benefit from any gift or inheritance.
If you are like millions of other Americans, you have some debt. You might have credit card debts, student loans to repay or a mortgage and car to pay off. If you have these and other debts when you pass away, they won't just disappear, so it is important to know what happens to debt after a person's death.
After a person passes away, his or her estate will generally go through probate. This is the process of legally passing the person's assets on to others and resolving the various financial elements. The probate process can be confusing and overwhelming, particularly when people are also struggling with grief and loss.
Probate is often an upsetting process, especially for people who are reeling from the death of a loved one and struggling to cope with the loss. However, probate proceedings can go smoothly when there is a clear, comprehensive will and everyone does what they should do.
Probate is undoubtedly a difficult process to navigate, especially for people who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Between the waiting and the arguing over what should happen to a person's property, family and friends often feel angry, frustrated and powerless.
In previous posts on this blog, we have discussed numerous ways that a person might prevent fights among family members during probate by having a clear, enforceable estate plan in place.