Probate Administration Lawyer
When a family member passes away, usually their estate will need to go through some form of the probate process. This is a court-supervised legal process to ensure that all bills and other obligations are satisfied and the remaining property is distributed appropriately. Some of the requirements are complex, and tasks must be accomplished in a particular order by various deadlines.
For those unfamiliar with the details of the estate administration process, it can be overwhelming. And if the person in charge makes a mistake, they could be personally liable.
That is why Iowa law requires the use of an attorney for probate administration. At Huizenga Law, we manage the process efficiently to conserve as much of your time and resources as possible.
Understanding Estates and Avoiding Probate
Although an estate sounds like a term that applies only to the wealthy, it refers to the property someone left behind when they pass away, so estates can be small or large, simple or complex. Property that is co-owned with another person who has a right of survivorship does not become part of the estate. It passes directly to the co-owner.
Also, funds in accounts with a beneficiary clause will pass directly to the beneficiary and not become part of the estate. Similarly, property belonging to a trust such as a revocable living trust will also pass to alternate beneficiaries without going into the estate. Many people work with an estate planning attorney to ensure that all of their property will pass through other means so that they do not leave an estate and their loved ones do not need to deal with probate.
If property got left out of the trust, however, probate will still be necessary unless the value of the estate is less than $50,000 and does not include real property. Having a will can make the probate process easier, but the probate requirements apply regardless of whether the deceased person left a valid will.
Tasks to Be Completed During Estate Administration
The executor, also called the personal representative, is the person who takes responsibility for handling all the requirements of probate for the estate. If the deceased person left a will, that document should name the preferred executor, although the court will need to approve the appointment. If there was no will, the court will designate someone, usually the closest relative, to serve as administrator. The attorney working with the nominated executor will open probate and ask the court to validate the will and authorize the executor.
At Huizenga Law, we meet with you right at the start to ensure you understand the duties and the process. We can handle or guide you through many of the duties of estate administration which include:
- Inventorying and valuing all assets
- Notifying all creditors and potential creditors
- Setting up a checking account and EIN for the estate
- Paying funeral expenses
- Filing tax returns and paying taxes
- Paying bills owed by the deceased and the estate
- Notifying beneficiaries and heirs
- Distributing assets according the will or the laws of intestate succession
- Filing an accounting with the court
We ensure compliance with all deadlines and waiting periods required by Iowa law.
Allow the Team at Huizenga Law to Manage Probate Administration
When you allow Huizenga Law to handle probate administration, you can rest assured that tasks will be accomplished in a timely fashion according to your preferences and in compliance with all applicable rules. We are always mindful of the need to remain efficient to avoid delays and conserve your family’s assets. Contact us today for a consultation to learn about the ways we can assist your family during this challenging time.