A lot of people hope to leave some assets behind for their family members when they die. However, the probate process in Hawaii is complex, given the many legal requirements to meet. Also, there are a lot of factors to keep in mind and challenges to overcome. Thankfully, a probate attorney can smoothen the process and give you legal guidance.
Understanding How Probate Works
Probate settles the legal and financial affairs of a person following their death. The probate process involves identifying, cataloging, and appraising the person’s property. Additionally, probate ensures all outstanding taxes and debts are paid. This legal process is full of specific legal requirements.
For instance, if somebody passes away without a valid will, in place, the probate court will distribute the assets left behind according to state law. If a valid will is in place, the probate court will make sure the assets of the deceased person are distributed based on their wishes.
The Probate Process
Each estate passes through probate after the death of the owner. Probating can take months or more than one year. But it can take longer if a will is in place and an heir contests it.
Also, probate can cost 3% to 7% of the value of the estate. The calculation is based on the estate’s gross value before debts and taxes are paid. The legal costs can increase if somebody challenges the probate process.
Moreover, probate occurs in public court, which means that everything can be accessed by the general public. Any person can know what’s left behind and the amount each heir gets. Estate owners who are concerned about the privacy of their heirs must take steps to handle the probate process.
What Property May Avoid the Probate Process
It is possible to structure certain assets, so they avoid probate. These assets include trust-held property, common property, property given away before the death of the owner, death benefits obtained from insurance policies, pay-on-death account assets, and retirement accounts that have a named beneficiary.
Importance of Hiring a Probate Lawyer
The knowledge and experience of a probate attorney can help with the administration of an estate after its owner dies. The lawyer can make sure the deceased person’s instructions are followed and that their hears get their inheritance with minimal stress. Sometimes, legal claims can be made following a death. Such claims against an estate are hard to resist without legal experience and training. By hiring a probate attorney to handle claims against an estate, the anxiety the surviving family members may feel is greatly reduced.