Most people are involved in the probate process at some point in their lives. Probate refers to the process that occurs after a person dies and before that person’s estate is divided in accordance with that person’s will. The probate process has the potential to be complicated and can involve many steps. To better prepare for probate, there are two pieces of advice that all people in North Dakota should follow. First, learn as much as possible about probate before becoming involved in the process. Second, retain the assistance of a seasoned North Dakota probate attorney if you are involved in the probate process.
The Importance of Affidavits
Probate is not required in every situation. The state of North Dakota allows an executor and beneficiaries to bypass the probate process if the value of all the assets left by the individual is less than a certain amount. In these cases, all that an inheritor is required to do is to sign and file an affidavit that states certain individuals are entitled to certain property that belongs to the deceased person. These affidavits are only available if the entire value of the deceased person’s estate is $50,000 or less. If this affidavit cannot be filed, a deceased person’s estate will most likely have to proceed through probate.
Steps in the Probate Process
The probate process in North Dakota has the potential to take a very long time. Fortunately, a skilled attorney is often able to help make sure that probate occurs as quickly as possible. Before probate, a determination will be made of whether the deceased person left a will. If the deceased person left a will, then the estate will likely be divided according to the terms of that will, but if the person died without a will, then the estate will be divided in accordance with predetermined intestacy law in the state of North Dakota.
The most common steps in the probate process include the following:
- The probate process will commence with the probate process being opened.
- The court will appoint a person or executor to oversee the probate process.
- The executor will make a list of all assets in the person’s estate.
- Creditors to whom the deceased person still owes money will be notified.
- The executor will review claims submitted by creditors to arrange payment.
- If a dispute occurs concerning the authenticity of the will, the executor will defend the legitimacy of the will in a court of law.
- Any estate taxes will be paid.
- Lastly, the remaining assets will be divided among beneficiaries in accordance with the deceased person’s will.
Obtain Probate Help by Contacting an Experienced North Dakota Attorney
If you have questions about the probate process in North Dakota, consult with a seasoned attorney who can readily answer your question. Attorney Stephen Welle at O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys have helped many individuals navigate the issues that can arise concerning the probate process. Call Stephen at 701-235-8000 or 877-235-8002.