If you have a family member or friend who passed away recently and is wondering about the next steps to probate their last will and testament or begin the process of transferring their estate to their heirs or beneficiaries, we’re here to help.
The passing of a loved one is never easy. And when you’ve been named executor, the burden to carry on the wishes of the deceased can feel even heavier. Your loved one thought you were the best fit to handle their estate after death, but now that the time has come, it may be more difficult than you anticipated.
Our attorneys have years of experience in probate estate administration and aiding people who find themselves in your position. We can provide knowledgeable, compassionate legal representation to help you manage your loved one’s assets and honor their wishes, along with expediting the process so the heirs and beneficiaries receive what is left to them in a timely manner.
We’ll take over for you so you can get back to what matters most—your family. Contact a Baldwin County probate lawyer at The Law Offices of Brenton C. McWilliams today.
What Information Should You Have Ready to Begin Probate Estate Administration?
When you call us to begin the probate process, we’ll have a few questions to begin. If you don’t already have this information, it would be helpful to take some time to gather it before calling us. If you don’t have this information it may be difficult for us to have a meaningful conversation with you about how we can help and the next steps to get started.
The questions are:
- Did your family member or friend create a last will and testament? (If you’re not sure, and you think someone else may know, it would be helpful to talk with them first before calling us.)
- If your family member or friend created a last will and testament, are you named as the executor?
- Generally, what assets did your family member or friend own at their death? A house? A bank account, etc.? (If you are not sure whether beginning an estate is necessary, this information is essential to help us talk you through making that decision.)
What is Probate and Estate Administration?
Probate—or estate administration—is the legal process of transferring a deceased person’s property to their beneficiaries. This process can happen with or without a will in place and includes probating a will, drafting and submitting paperwork to the court, and managing estate assets.
Probate laws differ from state to state, and the process can be relatively simple or complex depending on the size of the estate and whether there are disputes. Our attorneys can support you throughout the process. We help our clients by offering administration services that keep you and your family’s best interest at heart. Call to get started today.
What is the Executor or Administrator’s Role During Probate?
As the executor or administrator, you will be responsible for collecting, managing, and distributing the estate’s property according to the wishes outlined in your loved one’s will, along with settling any debts and taxes owed by the estate.
This will require you to file the necessary paperwork with the court and ensure everything is done according to the proper legal procedures. Serving as the executor or administrator of an estate can be very time-consuming and burdensome. If you feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities, consider hiring a lawyer to help.
Alabama Probate Process: What to Expect
The Alabama probate process can be complex and take at least six months to complete. It’s important to know what you’re getting into before starting the process so that you can plan accordingly and confidently make decisions.
The first step in probate is to file a petition with the court that provides the information about the deceased person and the assets required by statute to begin the estate process. You may be required to provide a bond. When all the statutory requirements have been met, possibly including a hearing before the judge, the court will move to the appointment of an executor or administrator to carry out the deceased’s wishes. The individual seeking an appointment as executor or administrator must meet certain requirements to qualify to serve.
Once appointed, the executor or administrator will take inventory of the estate assets—like a house, personal property, businesses, and bank accounts—and liabilities—like loans, credit card balances, and taxes. The executor or administrator may be required to provide a formal inventory to the probate court.
They will also notify creditors of the death and allow the creditors time to file claims against the estate. Once all debts and other expenses of the estate have been paid, any remaining assets can be distributed to beneficiaries according to state law or the deceased’s will.
Filing for probate can be long and complicated, so working with an experienced probate attorney is crucial if you are named as an executor in a will.
How a Baldwin County Probate Lawyer Helps You
If you have recently lost a loved one and are coping with the estate administration process, a probate lawyer can help you. At The Law Offices of Brenton C. McWilliams, we help executors and personal representatives make the right call for their family’s future.
Here’s what we can help you with:
- Probating a will
- Drafting and submitting the proper documents to the court
- Managing estate assets
- Summary distribution of a small estate
- Selling property
- Paying debts, taxes, and final bills
- Opening and managing an estate bank account
- An ancillary estate or foreign probate for a deceased person who was not a resident of Alabama
Our team is equipped to help you efficiently navigate the intricacies of legal issues concerning your loved one’s estate.
The Law Offices of Brenton C. McWilliams: Your Trusted Baldwin County Probate Lawyers
Are you currently working through probate after losing a loved one? You can trust The Law Offices of Brenton C. McWilliams.
At our law firm, you will work with an experienced estate administration professional who will ensure that the estate moves efficiently through probate court. We will provide you with regular status updates. We don’t let our estate files sit on a desk gathering dust.
We’ll help you reduce time and hassle by guiding and assisting you with the many detailed matters concerning estate administration. During our initial conversation, we will listen to your needs and concerns surrounding probate and provide you with information on the best way to move forward, and how we can help.
We have extensive experience in various practice areas related to estate law, including elder law.
Are you planning for the future? We design customized estate plans for each client to help you avoid probate and protect your legacy.
Call our law firm today.
FAQ: Alabama Probate Law
How can you avoid probate in Alabama?
You can avoid probate by creating a solid estate plan that incorporates a revocable living trust to transfer assets outside of probate to your beneficiaries after your death.
Do I need an attorney for probate?
While there is no legal requirement to have a probate lawyer represent you through the probate process, hiring an experienced attorney can help facilitate a smoother process for you and the heirs of the estate.
How long does probate take in Alabama?
In Alabama, after all the steps are completed to appoint a personal representative of the estate, distribution of the estate will be delayed for a minimum of six months. According to Alabama state law, this is how long unknown creditors or collectors have to make a claim against the estate for unpaid debts. This will also give the administrators plenty of time to locate and notify beneficiaries, inventory the estate, and perform other administrative tasks.