In Alabama, the probate process is oftentimes a complicated one, and if you recently had a loved one pass away, most likely have several questions regarding the process ahead. Whether you are an executor, beneficiary, or another party who has an interest in an estate, you should strongly consider hiring a knowledgeable Alabama estate planning attorney who can assist you through every step of the probate process ahead. Read on and reach out to our firm to learn more. Here are some of the questions you may have:
What is probate?
When a loved one passes away, oftentimes, his or her last will and testament will have to be validated and enforced through probate. The probate process generally occurs in the Surrogates’ Court in the county where the decedent resided. If you have been chosen as the executor of a decedent’s estate, you will be in charge of carrying out the decedent’s wishes and closing the estate. You should not do so without an attorney.
What does the probate process look like in Alabama?
To start, as the executor of an estate, you will have to first file your loved one’s will for probate. You must provide several forms of documentation, including a probate petition, a death certificate, a list of heirs, and your identification. You will then serve all heirs with a citation regarding the Surrogate Court with jurisdiction to name the rights of interested parties. As long as all interested parties do not contest the will, you, the executor, can move on with the probate process. You will then pay off all remaining taxes and debts of the decedent, collect and preserve various assets, allocate those assets to beneficiaries, and report all of this information back to the court.
Do I need an attorney to help me through the probate process?
Yes. Even if everything goes as planned, the probate process is quite complicated, and it is always best to retain the services of a knowledgeable Alabama estate planning attorney who has guided many individuals and their families through this process for years. That being said, there are times where things do not go so smoothly. For example, there are times where interested parties will contest the will if they believe something about the will is invalid. Additionally, if a beneficiary believes that you, the executor, violated your fiduciary duty in some way, you need legal representation to prove that this is not so or to resolve the matter, as you may face serious legal repercussion if it is proven that you did violate your fiduciary duty. Our firm is here to help.
Contact our experienced Alabama firm
Stone Crosby, P.C. has proudly served clients in Alabama for over 100 years. Our firm has experience handling matters including divorce and family law, estate planning and administration, business law, employment law, class actions, consumer protection, business law, real estate law, among many others. If you require quality legal representation, contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.