After you pass, the individual that you chose to be the Personal Representative (also called “Executor” or “Executrix”) of your Will must petition the court to approve your Will, and be approved to be your Personal Representative. Once approved, the Personal Representative may begin to distribute the assets of your estate in accordance with the guidelines established in your Will.
Unfortunately, many times people do not have a Will, and so a loved one seeking to distribute their estate must petition the court to appoint them as the Personal Representative. Once approved, the Personal Representative must distribute the estate in accordance with statutes of the state in which they live.
The process can be very complex and confusing. Many times, family members quarrel over certain financial matters with respect to estate assets. It is important to have an attorney who understands the probate process and the laws which govern it.
There are many different ways in which a person can become mentally incapacitated, requiring assistance with both financial and medical decision making. This is why McLane & McLane strongly recommends having both a Durable Power of Attorney and a Health Care Proxy in place and up-to-date.
However, there are many times where people have neither a Durable Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy in place, and they need a trusted individual to pay bills, admit them to long term care facilities, etc. A friend or a loved one must get approval from the courts to become legal “Guardian,” which makes health care decisions on behalf of an incapacitated person, or “Conservator,” which makes the financial decisions on behalf of an incapacitated person, or both.
This can be a very convoluted process, and so if you are in a situation where you are seeking to become the guardian or conservator for a loved one, you should seek guidance from a knowledgeable attorney.
If our practice areas do not address your particular needs, we have a network of trusted attorneys that we feel comfortable sending clients to. Please be sure to call our office and speak to one of our attorneys so that we can refer you to the right professional.