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It’s good to know what happens in probate

As you create an estate plan, you may want to learn more about the probate process. If nothing else, you should learn what happens and where you fit in.

Although every situation is unique, probating an estate typically includes the following:

-- Collecting all probate property associated with the deceased individual

-- Paying any debts, taxes and claims owed by the estate

-- Collecting any remaining income, such as paychecks and dividends

-- Settling all disputes, such as those associated with creditors

-- Distributing remaining property to the heirs, as outlined by the will

These are the most basic steps of the probate process. However, you need to remember that other things can and will happen along the way.

For example, somebody may step in to contest the will. In this case, it goes without saying that the probate process will become much more complicated. Furthermore, it has the potential to drag on and cost the estate a lot of money.

To help avoid trouble, you want to take all the proper steps when creating an estate plan. This means many things such as choosing the right executor of your will. Remember, this person is responsible for the entire probate process.

If you have any questions or concerns about probate, such as when creating a will, you should stop what you are doing to address them. Once you are confident in your estate plan and what will happen upon your death, you will have the peace of mind you've been seeking. From there, it's much easier to enjoy your life.

Source: FindLaw, "The Probate Basics," accessed May 16, 2017

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