No one tells us that they enjoyed going through probate.
I hear it in our office every week, “I don't want to put my kids through this”. This statement is typically made by an individual who has just learned that their own parent's estate will need to go through probate. I'm in the probate court every week. The people who work there know how to do their job and are pleasant to deal with, but here is what you should know:
- Even if you had a Durable Power of Attorney for a deceased parent, it won't help you get anything done on their behalf after they die.
- Probating an estate from appointment to closing, will take a minimum of 5 months, and typically it takes 12-18 months.
- You will be required to gather a lot of information about your family, and complete a stack of court forms, before you can be appointed as the Personal Representative (“PR”). Your siblings (even if they haven't been in your parent's lives lately) will need to be notified of your request to be the PR. Note: Each of your siblings has equal priority to be appointed.
- If the siblings refuse to sign waivers, there will be a public hearing, and a Judge will decide who should be the PR.
- The PR will be required to file an inventory, listing the decedent's assets -- every account, with the bank's or broker's name and address, the account numbers, and the exact balance on the date of death. The Court will then calculate a fee to be paid to them based on the value of those assets.
Chasing down statements, contacting banks, brokerages, mortgage companies, creditors, medical providers, all just to keep the court and other family members informed about the estate, is going to take up a lot of your time. It is a frustrating, tedious and thankless job.
Former PRs are a big group of clients we have at the firm -- and they want to get their own house in order and remove as many of the above steps as possible. After they have been through the probate process, they want to make it a little easier for the next generation.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the burden. Click the link to contact us. We can help.