Losing a loved one is a devastating endeavor. Getting through daily tasks is tedious enough for mourning family members; the last thing they want to deal with is a complicated legal and financial process.
Grieving families often find themselves facing probate and figuring out what happens to the assets of the deceased. Will a will avoid probate? What if the deceased did not leave a will? What do I do to start the probate process in Lake Charles? We will address all these questions and more through this informative article.
What is Probate?
Probate in Lake Charles, Louisiana is a court-supervised procedure administering a person’s estate after death. Probate proceedings occur in Superior Courts and aim to permit the personal representative to take possession, protect, and preserve the decedent’s assets. The process makes sure that the court distributes the properties to the rightful owners and the representative pays taxes and debts in full. If there is a will, the court checks its validity and carries out the stated instructions.
Whether or not there is a will in place, the judge needs the personal representative to be the point person for all transactions.
Is Probate Necessary?
Probate court hearings are not always necessary, but the law requires them if the deceased person left assets that are under his name alone. However, some Lake Charles area properties do not require probate to transfer ownership.
The absence of a will makes the process a bit more complicated. In such cases, the judge will appoint a personal representative, who will work with the court to value the estate, find creditors and beneficiaries, and decide on a fair way to divide the decedent’s properties to his heirs.
Here are some of the properties that require probate:
- Sole ownership property: When an asset such as a car, bank account, or home is fully-owned by a deceased person, it must go through the probate process.
- Personal possessions: Jewelry, collections, household items, and clothing must go through the probate process.
- Joint property investments: When the deceased is a “tenant in common” and failed to include the investment in his will, the probate process is necessary to determine how to handle the decedent’s portion of the property.
On the other hand, here are some of the properties that do not require probate:
- Items with beneficiaries: Any item with a declared heir like a life insurance policy does not require probate.
- Payable on Death (POD) and Transferable on Death (TOD) items: Clear notations on paperwork like POD and TOD allow establishments to release articles to beneficiaries.
- Asset held in a revocable living trust: These items are not the decedent’s property and do not require probate court.
A Home in Probate
A home can avoid probate if a deceased person passes it on to his heirs through a community property law, living trust, or transfer-on-death deed. Typically, if a home does not fall in these categories, it will undergo a probate process, whether the decedent created a will or not.
Here are the usual steps homeowners must undergo during real estate probate.
- Appoint an executor of the state. If the deceased failed to appoint an executor, then the court will choose one.
- Appraise the property. The executor will determine the right price for the home.
- List the property if it is for sale. The executor should handle the sale of the decedent’s home.
- Get approval from the heirs. Before closing a sale, the heirs must agree to the conditions for the sale of the property. They will have a 15-day window to object to the sale.
There is no law in Lake Charles prohibiting heirs from living in a home under probate.
How Long Does Probate Take?
The probate process in Lake Charles usually takes six to twelve months. However, fights over the will and complicated assets and debts might complicate the process and make it last for years. Making a will is crucial in avoiding the probate process and saving loved ones from tedious legal processes.
Sell Your Lake Charles Probate Property
We understand how strenuous the probate process can be for people dealing with a recent loss. However, it is necessary to finalize and distribute the assets of a decedent, particularly in the absence of a will.
Call Bayou Property Partners today and we’ll let you know if we can buy your probate property. We help homeowners in the Lake Charles area sell their house fast and simplify the probate process. Call (337) 246-5935 or contact us online.