Probate Administration

At Darpel Elder Law, we know that losing a loved one is difficult. We recognize that the thought of pursuing a probate administration for a deceased loved one can seem overwhelming. Our goal is to guide you seamlessly through a probate administration and to ease the burden in this already difficult time. 

What is Probate?

Probate is the court process to enable a court-appointed fiduciary (Executor or Administrator) to handle the following:

  • Collect assets
  • Identify beneficiaries
  • Identify creditors
  • Pay creditors
  • Distribute net estate

When is Probate necessary?

Probate is necessary (typically) only when a person dies having had sole ownership of an asset without a beneficiary designation (examples: vehicle, savings account, etc.)

If I'm already someone's Power of Attorney, don't I already have the authority to do these things?

No - a Power of Attorney is no longer valid when someone passes away. You must get court authority to handle their affairs.

What is required of an Executor?

  • After the Executor's appointment, within 60 days they must file an inventory of the deceased person's property with the court.
  • They must then file Periodic Reports setting forth how much money and property they have received/distributed as the Executor, along with a Final Report of Settlement at the time the estate is closed.
  • Depending on the amount of the estate assets, an Executor will need to obtain a surety bond (unless either the Judge or the Will waives same).

Probate Avoidance Strategies:

  • Trusts
  • Joint ownership
  • Contracts with beneficiary designations (e.g. life insurance, annuities, retirement plans)
  • P.O.D. and T.O.D. accounts