After a family member passes, there is sure to be a great deal of grieving. What you and your family may not expect following the passing of your relative is that there may also be a great deal of confusion. Even if your relative had few possessions, or even if it appeared as though your relative had a comprehensive estate plan in place, there are many things that can add confusion and complexity to the process of settling their estate.
Some people may view the probate process as cumbersome, time consuming, and just another thing that gets in the way of the expedient resolution of estates. While it is true that the probate process does take time and that it is thorough and detailed, these attributes serve as more of a benefit to the families of the deceased than a burden.
One way that the probate process helps families after the loss of a relative is by providing a structure that keeps everything organized. Even if the relative who has passed left things in disarray, the probate process serves as a map for navigating the process of settling their estate so that all of the details get taken care of. With the probate process and a knowledgeable Kansas probate attorney as your guides, you can feel confident that your relative’s “final affairs” are just that, final.
The probate process is also helpful in that it provides impartial guidance on the often emotional issue of “who gets what”. If your relative spelled out his or her wishes in a will, probate ensures that those wishes are carried out. If they died without a will, relatives are not left to fight amongst themselves over money and property because the laws of intestate succession provide a list of which relatives inherit which portions of an estate. While this may not prevent all family feuding after the death of your relative, it can greatly reduce it.
Not only does the probate process provide for the distribution of the assets of the deceased, it ensures that their debts get paid. Most people die with at least some debt, and the probate process ensures that those debts get paid in a timely and efficient manner. That way, family members are not left to worry about who is responsible for paying the debts of the deceased.
Probate also protects the money, property, businesses, and other assets of the deceased. It provides a framework for valuing, transferring, and selling those assets so that things are not lost or misapportioned along the way. Since a detailed accounting of all assets is a part of the probate process, it keeps family members honest when they are dealing with the assets of the deceased and encourages them to act in the best interest of the entire family, not just themselves.
The probate process in Kansas helps families to stay organized during what is often a very emotional and very confusing time. A knowledgeable Kansas probate lawyer can provide the support that you need as you navigate the probate process during this difficult time. Contact the law office of J. Joseph Weber, P.A. online or call (316) 265-7802 for an initial consultation. Our Wichita office is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We also offer weekend and evening hours by appointment.