Crucial Mistakes You Should Avoid During Probate

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Crucial Mistakes You Should Avoid During Probate

18 October 2016
 Categories: Law, Blog


When someone close to you passes away, the probate process is necessary to help divide their estate to the people listed in the will.  Part of probate involves having a court look over the estate to make sure any outstanding debts have been settled before assets are divided.  When a will is not left behind, it places responsibility on the court for dividing assets.  Unfortunately, mistakes can be made that will cause probate to move slowly, delaying when you'll eventually be able to receive assets from the estate.

Not Promptly Starting Probate

While the death of a loved one can be a difficult time to go through, there are legal matters that must be taken care of so that everything is handled correctly.  A big problem that people run into is not starting the probate process within the required timeframe. 

Check with your state laws for how soon you need to start probate, but states like California require that it is done in 30 days.  If you miss the deadline, it will significantly delay the case.  You may not be able to have yourself appointed as the estate executor, and many things will be out of your control.

Not Giving People Proper Notice

Part of being the estate executor involves notifying creditors, relatives, or anybody who could potentially have an interest in the estate.  If you do not do this, it could cause a huge problem later trying to correct what has already been done. 

For instance, if a creditor is not notified of the person passing away, it may not be known that a debt needs to be collected until after probate.  There will then be a lengthy legal process if the creditor tries to seek payment from the estate after it is divided.

Not Maintaining Property

The probate process can take many months to finish, but there will be assets in limbo until they are divided.  It's important to keep up with maintenance when it comes to property owned by the estate.  It may not end up being yours in the end, but it still needs to be maintained.  Related costs to maintain the estate can be paid for by the estate.  Those associated costs will be paid for before assets are divided to others.

To avoid making these mistakes during probate, you should work with a probate lawyer from a firm like Cormac McEnery Law Firm to ensure that you are on the right track.