What are the Misconceptions about Probate?

The probate process is riddled with misconceptions. That could be why so many people push it to the side and never really deal with it. If you are one of the many people facing probate in without a will, perhaps as an executor for a loved one, you know how difficult it is to manage this process. The probate house sale process without a will makes your life hard. Take a look at a few common misconceptions about probate.

The Government Gets it All

One of the most common misconceptions about probate is this one. “When I die, the government will get everything.” This isn’t true. State laws determine things like taxes – there are estate taxes that can reduce some of the value of the home or other assets. However, the government doesn’t just take everything.

It does make the big decisions, though, if you do not. Probate without a will means the court has to determine what your wishes were or, more commonly, the best way to divide your assets. Keep in mind that this may not be what you think or want.

The Oldest Child Is the Executor

That’s not necessarily true. Some people do not want this responsibility. The court’s job is to determine who is the most likely to be able to handle the process or understand the wishes of the deceased person. This does not necessarily mean the oldest heir will be left in charge. Keep that in mind when you are thinking about who will make decisions.

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Estates with a Will Do Not Go Through Probate

Having a will does not automatically mean you will avoid probate. Having a will means providing directions, so to speak, to the court. The court still has to agree to and finalize the process. Then, there are questions such as “can you sell a house before probate” or “can you sell a house in probate when decisions are not clearly outlined in the will?” These are the questions the court must answer before the process moves forward.

You Don’t Have to Leave Everything
to Your Spouse

Who inherits everything depends on state law. In some states, the law outlines that spouses receive everything yet. Yet, “taking the will” can also occur. This means the surviving spouse can receive a particular share of the deceased’s property in lieu of a specified share left in the will. In other words, there are a number of ways around these seemingly common laws. This is where things like the possibility of selling a probate house comes to light.

Any Attorney Can Help You with Probate

Should you sell a probate house and property? Can you sell an inherited property before probate? These are key questions only a skilled attorney can answer for you. Not every attorney understands this law well enough to be able to help you. The bottom line here is that you should hire an experienced professional specializing in probate to help you with the process and to ensure your needs are met.

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Check out more of our information on probate.

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