Being named as a beneficiary or personal representative in a deceased loved one's will may entitle you to monetary benefits, but you will need to wait until the estate has been fully settled before you can collect. If you don't know what is involved in the process, you should consider consulting with a probate lawyer, like Patricia K Wood Atty, so that no vital steps are missed and you avoid making errors that will just make settling the estate take longer. Here are most important requirements you need to ensure are satisfied if you want to get through probate and have all available funds dispersed to all beneficiaries.
Find and Gaining Access to Accounts and Assets
Whether you were around when your loved one was executing his or her will or learned that you were a beneficiary after the fact, there are likely bank accounts, life insurance policies, real estate holdings, and other assets that you aren't aware exist. Hiring a skilled probate lawyer enables beneficiaries and personal representatives to get through probate knowing that all accounts and funds have been uncovered and are completely accounted for.
Covering Estate Administration Costs
You will need to pay your probate lawyer for all services performed, but there will also be other administration fees that are also applicable. Bank account maintenance fees, accounting costs, probate court petitions, appraisals, and even fees for postage and stationary will need to tabulated and paid while going through the probate process. Your probate attorney can help you to setup the deceased's estate in a way that will allow all of these administration costs to be deducted automatically.
Issuing a Death Notice
Prior to ending probate, you will need to make a formal announcement that gives beneficiaries, creditors, and any other person owed money by the deceased the opportunity to make a claim for any monies due. As part of this process, you must issue a death notice in a local newspaper that is circulated in the county that your deceased loved one most recently lived in. Note that you will need to retain a copy of this official death notice as well as a receipt for the total paid for when you go to probate court.
Paying Applicable Taxes
At a minimum, federal taxes will be due on the estate of the deceased before any funds can be dispersed. There may also be other taxes, specifically estate taxes and state taxes, depending on the size of the estate and the way it has been structured. A probate lawyer can aid you in estimating how much of estate will need to be set aside to take care of taxes, which will get you one step closer to having probate fully settled.