When a loved one passes away unexpectedly, it can be a shocking, emotionally intense, and confusing time. The confusion may stem from figuring out what happens next. When it comes to figuring out who has legal rights to a deceased person’s property, it is not as straightforward as one may think. According to a recent CNBC news report, two-thirds of adults living in the United States have no will. On the one hand, different states have different laws when it comes to will and estate planning. In addition, after a loved one passes without a will, it can cause intense complications between family members and potential heirs because of varying goals.
The probate court is a section of the court system that oversees the execution of wills and the handling of estates, conservatorships, and guardianships. In an intestate situation or a situation where someone has died without a will, the matter will likely be handled in probate court. If a person passes away without a will or intestate, the probate court decides who gets the deceased person’s property, although it is up to the survivors to claim their right to the property. When there is no will in place, you can never be sure how a court will decide to distribute the deceased person’s property.
In an intestate situation, the probate court appoints an executor for the estate. This executor will follow the laws of the state where the deceased person lived. This process may involve identifying the kinship of the deceased and may cause the children to have the burden of proving that they are the offspring of the deceased. The family members also will need to locate the records of the deceased, including proof of residency, amongst other records. The process can take a lot of time.