State of Probate Address – 2012

Probate is one of the largest and fastest growing businesses in the world!

The reason is that we “Baby Boomers” are getting old and dying.

In a lot of cities, there could be thousands of open probate cases and that figure is growing at an alarming rate every day.

Filing Probate is necessary if your assets are not in a good preventive trust done by an attorney. Unfortunately, this is usually less than 10% of the American public. Then to, wills usually do not keep your estate out of probate court. Therefore, since the majority of Americans do not have a will, a long probate process is necessary. Furthermore, a huge amount of those who do have a will have never updated them for some time. This means that they are way out of date. In addition to this, some people do not have the will done by an attorney. Therefore, some states and courts will put a delay on the probate process because the will was not done by a lawyer even though a lawyer is usually not required to do a will.

Lots of people plan for retirement with insurance, IRA’s and paying off their homes. Then, they lose most or all of it because they do not have a trust.

As far as filing for probate, it is a simple process and does not vary much from state to state or even in a lot of foreign countries. Yet, the majority of heirs wait for a long time before filing. These delays make the whole probate process more costly for the estate. This is because that nothing can be done until the judge appoints a personal representative. This person is usually the closest family member. However, any heir or creditor can petition the court to open up probate.

Going along with this, if the deceased has real estate in different states, probate will have to be filed in each state. Therefore, you will need an attorney in each state.

In addition to an attorney who is well-trained in the probate liquidation process, you will need an experienced and Certified Probate Liquidator. This is the person who will inventory the assets giving the court the values of both the personal and real property, selling the assets, finding hidden assets, getting the heirs together for the liquidation, negotiating with some of the heirs and negotiating with the creditors. These are the things that will have to be done, if necessary.

Of all of the hundreds of estates I have done, the majority of the above needed to be done. Unfortunately, many have called us after the process was already begun, and most of the negotiating had already been done wrong! Therefore, there were a lot of delay costs that were already paid. Some of these are extra time for the attorney, real estate taxes, and utilities.

One of the largest reasons for delays is that the heirs fight over small amounts of money. This is because nobody got them together in the beginning to explain everything to them. Therefore, please a lot of time was wasted and since time is money, a lot of money was wasted that could have possibly solved the argument. This is why I insist on getting them together in the beginning!

One of the most common statements we hear almost every week is that “mom wanted me to have it!” Well, maybe she did, but she did not put it into writing. Therefore, it will be up to the judge to decide which means you cannot have it until the judge in probate court says so! Fair warning: the judge will not just give it to you if it is worth a considerable amount more than what the other siblings are getting. You will have to work this out with the others so that it is fair to all.

The big reason for long delays is the attorney. Most attorneys do not do all of the above mentioned things. Therefore, costly delays occur that could have been avoided by using a Certified Probate Liquidator. This is because the usual probate process takes around 13 months and some up to 3 years. This can be reduced to 3 to 6 months if all paperwork and values were given to the judge on day one and all heirs were informed. Then, you only have to wait for the Notice to Creditors ad to expire which is usually 3 months in many states. This is a required publication run by your attorney notifying any creditors of the proceedings. Money Saving Note: this ad must be in a small newspaper that is

cheap! It is not required by law to be in a major newspaper that charges a fortune for the ad. After all, you probably don’t want everyone to know that they have to file a claim against the deceased person’s estate.

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