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A surrogate court, which is also commonly known as a probate court, is a specialized court that hears the cases about the affairs of a deceased person. It deals with the matter of probate of wills and the administration of estates. A surrogate court basically, administers the appropriate distribution of the assets, checks the validity and reliability of the wills and refrains wrong doing by executors. Under the availability of a will, the probate court examines the authenticity of the will and properly distribute the assets while in the case of intestacy, the court decides the equal distribution of the deceased’s property according to the law declared by the legal affairs associations. Probate proceedings are held in the city where the decedent had permanent residence or had a domicile of.
In the case of appeals, process at surrogate courts involves a complete process to distribute the property. It initiates with the process that whether the deceased person has left any will or not. But even before that, a case is filed in the local surrogate court which technically needs the death certificate. The requirements of the courts also vary.
- If the will is not available, the court checks the attorney, whether the person has filed their attorney or not.
- If the will is available, action is taken on it. The executor claims the will to the local surrogate court to approve the will under his or her name.
The next step is to file a petition. If the decedent left a will, then a Petition for Probate must be filed. The person died intestate, then a file or a petition for Letters of Administration is used. After it gets done, the court would require all these and other necessary documents.
After all the legal processes involving heirs, interested parties agreements, the court appoints the executor to be the representative of the deceased property. The court also issue a decree granting probate by issuing Letters Testamentary to the executor. Letters Testamentary is a document that gives the executor the responsibility of administering the estate. Once this process has be legally formulated, the court handovers all the essential assets to the executor that has been assigned as the representative of the property. The essential assets and property enlist the following:
- Bank Accounts
- Real Estate Properties
The executor will also be responsible for paying the debts, taxes and will also be bound to distribute the estate property to all the beneficiaries.
Important Factors about Probate:
- The Will made from fraud will be denied under the law.
- All separated papers, important documents, requirements and original death certificate should be submitted to the court for further process.
- As per the rules of the court, all the original documents should be submitted, copy of documents or damaged ones will not be accepted by the court.
- The Will created in other or foreign languages will be accepted only if the tester understands the language of the Will.
The process of probate in surrogate court is not difficult until and unless all the necessary measures are taken into account.
The living will refers to the legal document which let people state whatever wishes they have for the end-of-lie medical care. It is also known as advance directive or health care directive. This is used in order to ensure that he/she will be able to communicate decisions in times he/she cannot express his/her wishes.
Without the presence of the living will document, which expresses such wishes, the doctor as well as the family members, will be left to guessing, what a seriously ill person would want in terms of his/her treatment. In most cases, this may end in some painful disputes that sometimes make it all the way to the courtroom. This event is something that you do not want likely to happen, so it is better to have your living will document as soon as you are still able to communicate your wants and desires.
How does a living will work?
Most states have provided forms for the advance directives to allow the residents to state wishes in as much as few details as they like. In order for a living will to be considered valid, it must meet the state requirements about the witnesses or notarization. It can also be revoked anytime.
A living will can only take effect as soon as it is signed or the person can no longer state or communicate his/her wished regarding the treatment. In relation to this, any doctors will rely on the personal communication instead on a document as much as possible.
How to create the living will?
When it comes to the requirements regarding the creation of living will, they vary from one state to another. That is why most people would tend to hire a lawyer in order to prepare the living will. However, anyone can create this simple document without paying high legal fees. This is through the quality software application that accounts for the law of the state. Once you need to update or write a trust or will, you can take care of the living will simultaneously.
What does a living will cover?
The living will cover not only the direct health care providers that withhold the treatment, but also it allows the person to ask for all the available treatment options as well as medical techniques. It also allows the person to reject others and to choose some of the medical options.
Since a living will are involving most of the complicated medical issues, the consultation with a doctor can help in clarifying the different treatment types and assisting the patient to make the living will decisions.
A living will would not take effect legally unless otherwise the patient is medically determined being in the permanent terminally ill or vegetative state, so the patient can no longer communicate his/her medical preferences.
From the word itself, living will, it does no longer have power to take effect after the death of the person. Creating a living will as early as now will definitely ensure your medical assistance and treatments according to your own preferences.
More than half of Americans leave the world without a proper will or an estate plan. Since they have not created the financial plans in their living, the state often transfers the assets to the deceased person’s closest relatives. The state also decides where the young children of the deceased are sent as well as their property if the other parent is unable to take care of them. However, with the help of an estate lawyer, these decisions can be made thoughtfully in advance.
An estate lawyer is a bar certified attorney who helps and guides their clients in choosing the correct options for maintaining their estates and property after death, mental disability or incapacity. Every person has different wishes. Some wish to distribute their wealth and property equally between their family members while others may have other desires about their assets. A qualified estate lawyer will not only describe the various options available but also make sure that your last wishes are carried out according to the law.
It is important to choose an estate lawyer who is experienced and understands your unique family and financial situations. The estate attorney should also be well informed about the laws of your certain state. You should also be comfortable with your estate planning lawyer in order to share the most intimate details of your life.
An estate planning lawyer can help you in various ways such as:
- prepare a power of attorney according to the requirements of law
- advice ways on how to reduce taxes on your estate property
- prepare a will
- establish a living trust
- pass the property to the client’s family members as desired
- makes sure that your property is protected from inheritor’s creditors and predators
- And much more.
Who should hire an estate lawyer?
Estate planning is an important and often the most neglected part of any financial planning. Of course, it may seem simple for those who have few assets as well as no complicated family situations. But in truth, Estate planning is beneficial in assuring that finances are properly handed over to the heirs as well as medical decisions are made in advance and the heirs receive fair amount of the total assets.
An experienced and qualified estate planning attorney can help ensure that your property is managed smoothly even after your demise and makes sure your wishes to distribute your property and other wealth is carried out the way you want.