What Is Probate, and What Does It Involve?

When you die, assets you individually own or have an interest in are “stuck” in your name. This applies also to tenants in common (like owning real estate with your siblings). Probate is a court-supervised process of ensuring that your creditors get paid and your assets get transferred according to the terms in your will. If you have not signed a will, every state has an “intestate” (literally meaning “without a will”) statute that determines who inherits your wealth by default. There will be a separate probate in each state in which you own real estate.

Probate can be a burdensome process, and it is fraught with perils for those unaware of all it entails. Many people feel obligated to serve as executor for family and friends without realizing how time consuming probate usually is. Frequent problems include creditor issues, intricate accountings to the court (down to the penny), and dealing with personal effects.

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How We Can Help

Our attorneys have more than twenty years combined experience navigating probate in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC. Whenever you find yourself overwhelmed by your duties as an executor, you can rely on us to help you through.

We provide three levels of service for probate:

Legal Advice and Administrative Assistance. As an executor or administrator, if you have a handle on the process but occasionally need help with administrative duties or legal advice on discrete issues, you can rely on us to be there when you call. We will always provide timely advice for your present needs.

Executive or Administrative Oversight. As an executor or administrator, if you do not have the time or inclination to take the lead, you can entrust the process to us. Be assured that we will see the process through to the end. As the executor you always have final signatory oversight.

Independent Third-Party Executorship. For various reasons our estate planning clients sometimes need to name an independent third party executor. In those cases, our clients can name one of LTAL’s attorneys to serve as executor. LTAL then handles the entire process from beginning to end, ensuring that all administrative details are complete and sensitive legal issues are handled appropriately.

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